Deriving robust return periods for tropical cyclone inundations from sediments

Nott, Jonathan F., and Jagger, Thomas H. (2013) Deriving robust return periods for tropical cyclone inundations from sediments. Geophysical Research Letters, 40 (2). pp. 370-373.

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Return periods for tropical cyclone (TC) marine inundations are usually derived from synthetic data sets generated from deterministic models or by extrapolating short historical records. Such approaches contain considerable uncertainties because it is difficult to test their veracity until a sufficiently long period has elapsed. These approaches also often only consider storm surges or storm tides and not the total inundation, which includes waves, set-up and run-up, likely to flood a coastal property. An alternative approach is to examine sedimentary records of actual events that occurred throughout the late Holocene. Sedimentary beach ridges are unique amongst the different types of storm inundation sedimentary records because they record variations in the height of total marine inundations rather than a censoring level as occurs with overwash deposits. The limitation in using beach ridges to derive return periods for inundations has been the lack of a robust statistical model that accurately describes the distribution of these events over the past several millennia. Such a model is presented here using a Generalized Extreme Value distribution and Bayesian analysis of a sand beach ridge plain record of extreme TC-generated marine inundations from northeast Australia. Using this approach, the return period of the marine inundation generated by severe TC Yasi is determined. This return period differs considerably from estimates determined using a probability-based approach, which extrapolates from a short historical record. With global climate changing and the magnitude of marine inundations expected to increase, there is mounting pressure to develop national standards for marine flood loadings on coastal buildings. Deriving accurate return periods of these events will be critical to this endeavor, and this approach will be applicable at numerous localities globally where storm deposited beach ridges occur.

Item ID: 27069
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1944-8007
Keywords: tropical cyclones; storm surge; beach ridges; inundation return intervals
Date Deposited: 22 May 2013 09:13
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040604 Natural Hazards @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040601 Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960301 Climate Change Adaptation Measures @ 100%
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