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Challenges of forecasting flooding on coral reef–lined coasts

March 1, 2018

Understanding wave-driven coastal flooding is a challenging scientific problem; the need for forecasts is becoming more urgent because of sea level rise, climate change, and ever-growing coastal populations. The tools developed for sandy shorelines are generally not applicable to coral reef–lined coasts with their complex bathymetry, hydrodynamically rough reef platforms, steep and poorly sorted beaches, and low coastal elevations. Advances in understanding and predicting flooding on coral reef–lined coasts thus require concerted efforts from a number of disciplines, including climatology, oceanography, geology, and ecology.