Integrated Coastal Modeling of Human and Earth System Processes in the Mid-Atlantic Region (Invited)

Monday, December 9, 2019 - 10:35
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Coastal regions are experiencing a wide range of hazards and stresses, including sea level rise, extreme weather events, erosion, aging infrastructure, and ecological degradation. Human activities, especially the expansion of the built environment and other land use changes, drive changes in coastal zones that can be as important as changes in the natural system, and coastal communities are developing a variety of strategies for managing flooding, erosion, water quality issues, and other threats. These complex interactions across different human and natural systems, combined with the presence of sharp horizontal gradients, make it difficult to simulate coastal processes in numerical models to project how coastal environments may evolve in the future. Understanding changes near the land–ocean boundary also requires considering processes in upland areas, coastal cities, rivers, floodplains, estuaries, the open ocean, and the atmosphere that influence wind and precipitation patterns, water quantity and composition, ecogeomorphology, and coastal development, all of which span a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. This presentation will describe a new research project, entitled Integrated Coastal Modeling (ICoM) and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, that is targeting some of the biggest uncertainties associated with the evolution of coastal regions. The emphasis of ICoM is on developing and applying computational models and integrated modeling systems that can simulate the complex multiscale, multisector processes that typify coastal environments. Major scientific focus areas include a seamless global-to-coastal Earth system modeling capability, a new model of coastal urban development and land use changes, and exploration of land-atmosphere, surface-subsurface, and human-Earth system interactions. Our initial geographic focus is the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, with particular emphasis on the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basins and their estuaries. The long-term goal of the project is to deliver a robust predictive understanding of coastal evolution accounting for the complex, multiscale interactions among physical, biological, and human systems.

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