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Projected 21st century coastal flooding in the Southern California Bight. Part 2: Tools for assessing climate change-driven coastal hazards and socio-economic impacts

July 2, 2018

This paper is the second of two that describes the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) approach for quantifying physical hazards and socio-economic hazard exposure in coastal zones affected by sea-level rise and changing coastal storms. The modelling approach, presented in Part 1, downscales atmospheric global-scale projections to local scale coastal flood impacts by deterministically computing the combined hazards of sea-level rise, waves, storm surges, astronomic tides, fluvial discharges, and changes in shoreline positions. The method is demonstrated through an application to Southern California, United States, where the shoreline is a mix of bluffs, beaches, highly managed coastal communities, and infrastructure of high economic value. Results show that inclusion of 100-year projected coastal storms will increase flooding by 9–350% (an additional average 53.0 ± 16.0 km2) in addition to a 25–500 cm sea-level rise. The greater flooding extents translate to a 55–110% increase in residential impact and a 40–90% increase in building replacement costs. To communicate hazards and ranges in socio-economic exposures to these hazards, a set of tools were collaboratively designed and tested with stakeholders and policy makers; these tools consist of two web-based mapping and analytic applications as well as virtual reality visualizations. To reach a larger audience and enhance usability of the data, outreach and engagement included workshop-style trainings for targeted end-users and innovative applications of the virtual reality visualizations.