Steps to Develop Early Warning Systems and Future Scenarios of Storm Wave-Driven Flooding Along Coral Reef-Lined Coasts

Last modified: 
April 21, 2020 - 6:11pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2020
Date published: 03/2020
Authors: Gundula Winter, Curt Storlazzi, Sean Vitousek, Ap van Dongeren, Robert McCall, Ron Hoeke, William Skirving, John Marra, Johan Reyns, Jerome Aucan, Matthew Widlansky, Janet Becker, Chris Perry, Gerd Masselink, Ryan Lowe, Murray Ford, Andrew Pomeroy, Fernando Méndez, Ana Rueda, Moritz Wandres
Journal title: Frontiers in Marine Science
Volume: 7

Tropical coral reef-lined coasts are exposed to storm wave-driven flooding. In the future, flood events during storms are expected to occur more frequently and to be more severe due to sea-level rise, changes in wind and weather patterns, and the deterioration of coral reefs. Hence, disaster managers and coastal planners are in urgent need of decision-support tools. In the short-term, these tools can be applied in Early Warning Systems (EWS) that can help to prepare for and respond to impending storm-driven flood events. In the long-term, future scenarios of flooding events enable coastal communities and managers to plan and implement adequate risk-reduction strategies. Modeling tools that are used in currently available coastal flood EWS and future scenarios have been developed for open-coast sandy shorelines, which have only limited applicability for coral reef-lined shorelines. The tools need to be able to predict local sea levels, offshore waves, as well as their nearshore transformation over the reefs, and translate this information to onshore flood levels. In addition, future scenarios require long-term projections of coral reef growth, reef composition, and shoreline change. To address these challenges, we have formed the UFORiC (Understanding Flooding of Reef-lined Coasts) working group that outlines its perspectives on data and model requirements to develop EWS for storms and scenarios specific to coral reef-lined coastlines. It reviews the state-of-the-art methods that can currently be incorporated in such systems and provides an outlook on future improvements as new data sources and enhanced methods become available.

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