Flood risk influenced by the compound effect of storm surge and rainfall under climate change for low-lying coastal areas

Sci Total Environ. 2021 Apr 10;764:144439. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144439. Epub 2020 Dec 24.


Under climate change, compound flooding has resulted in severe disasters in coastal areas around the world. In this study, an integrated framework is proposed to determine the range of compound flood risk without the requirement of joint probability analysis between storm surge and rainfall. In the framework, the flood risks are analyzed under four extreme scenarios with/without the compound effect of storm surge and rainfall in the past and the future. From the end of the 20th century to the middle of the 21st century, the worst scenario shows that the flood area significantly increases by 92% for the low-lying coastal areas in southwest Taiwan under the compound effect of storm surge and rainfall if they are fully correlated. In the most optimistic scenario, the flood area slightly increases by 15% without compound effect (only storm surge is considered). To coastal flooding, the synchronization of storm surge and rainfall contributes much more than the climate-induced amplification of individual factors. When storm surge and rainfall happen at the same time, the extent and duration of flooding increase simultaneously under the influence of pluvial and surge-induced flooding. Risk analysis shows an obvious increase of risk level for villages originally at low risks, which require integrated countermeasures against the consequence brought by compound flooding in the future. The framework can be applied in other low-lying coastal areas to quantify the potential impacts on human and environment caused by compound flooding under climate change.

Keywords: Climate change; Compound flooding; Rainfall; Storm surge.