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A numerical study of vegetation impact on reducing storm surge by wetlands in a semi-enclosed estuary

November 4, 2014

Coastal wetlands play a unique role in extreme hurricane events. The impact of wetlands on storm surge depends on multiple factors including vegetation, landscape, and storm characteristics. The Delft3D model, in which vegetation effects on flow and turbulence are explicitly incorporated, was applied to the semi-enclosed Breton Sound (BS) estuary in coastal Louisiana to investigate the wetland impact. Guided by extensive field observations, a series of numerical experiments were conducted based on variations of actual vegetation properties and storm parameters from Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Both the vegetation-induced maximum surge reduction (MSR) and maximum surge reduction rate (MSRR) increased with stem height and stem density, and were more sensitive to stem height. The MSR and MSRR decreased significantly with increasing wind intensity. The MSRR was the highest with a fast-moving weak storm. It was also found that the MSRR varied proportionally to the expression involving the maximum bulk velocity and surge over the area of interest, and was more dependent on the maximum bulk surge. Both MSR and MSRR appeared to increase when the area of interest decreased from the whole BS estuary to the upper estuary. Within the range of the numerical experiments, the maximum simulated MSR and MSRR over the upper estuary were 0.7 m and 37%, respectively.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title A numerical study of vegetation impact on reducing storm surge by wetlands in a semi-enclosed estuary
DOI 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2014.09.008
Authors Hu Kelin, Chen Qin, Hongqing Wang
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Coastal Engineering
Index ID 70131500
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wetlands Research Center; Wetland and Aquatic Research Center