Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
8 December 2013

A Modeling Study of Coastal Inundation Induced by Storm Surge, Sea-level Rise, and Subsidence in the Gulf of Mexico



The northern coasts of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) are highly vulnerable to the direct threats of climate change, such as hurricane-induced storm surge, and such risks are exacerbated by land subsidence and global sea-level rise. This paper presents an application of a coastal storm surge model to study the coastal inundation process induced by tide and storm surge, and its response to the effects of land subsidence and sea-level rise in the northern Gulf coast. The unstructured-grid finite-volume coastal ocean model was used to simulate tides and hurricane-induced storm surges in the GoM. Simulated distributions of co-amplitude and co-phase lines for semi-diurnal and diurnal tides are in good agreement with previous modeling studies. The storm surges induced by four historical hurricanes (Rita, Katrina, Ivan, and Dolly) were simulated and compared to observed water levels at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tide stations. Effects of coastal subsidence and future global sea-level rise on coastal inundation in the Louisiana coast were evaluated using a “change of inundation depth” parameter through sensitivity simulations that were based on a projected future subsidence scenario and 1-m global sea-level rise by the end of the century. Model results suggested that hurricane-induced storm surge height and coastal inundation could be exacerbated by future global sea-level rise and subsidence, and that responses of storm surge and coastal inundation to the effects of sea-level rise and subsidence are highly nonlinear and vary on temporal and spatial scales.

“A Modeling Study Of Coastal Inundation Induced By Storm Surge, Sea-Level Rise, And Subsidence In The Gulf Of Mexico”. 2013. Natural Hazards 71: 1771-1794. doi:10.1007/s11069-013-0974-6.
Funding Program Area(s)