Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

High-tide flooding disrupts local economic activity

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Science Advances  15 Feb 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 2, eaau2736
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau2736

Abstract

Evaluation of observed sea level rise impacts to date has emphasized sea level extremes, such as those from tropical cyclones. Far less is known about the consequences of more frequent high-tide flooding. Empirical analysis of the disruption caused by high-tide floods, also called nuisance or sunny-day floods, is challenging due to the short duration of these floods and their impacts. Through a novel approach, we estimate the effects of high-tide flooding on local economic activity. High-tide flooding already measurably affects local economic activity in Annapolis, Maryland, reducing visits to the historic downtown by 1.7% (95% confidence interval, 1.0 to 2.6%). With 3 and 12 inches of additional sea level rise, high-tide floods would reduce visits by 3.6% (3.2 to 4.0%) and 24% (19 to 28%), respectively. A more comprehensive understanding of the impacts of high-tide flooding can help to guide efficient responses from local adaptations to global mitigation of climate change.

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