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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 10 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2785-2799, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-2785-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Oct 2018

Research article | 24 Oct 2018

Combining probability distributions of sea level variations and wave run-up to evaluate coastal flooding risks

Ulpu Leijala, Jan-Victor Björkqvist, Milla M. Johansson, Havu Pellikka, Lauri Laakso, and Kimmo K. Kahma Ulpu Leijala et al.
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute, P. O. Box 503, 00101, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. Tools for estimating probabilities of flooding hazards caused by the simultaneous effect of sea level and waves are needed for the secure planning of densely populated coastal areas that are strongly vulnerable to climate change. In this paper we present a method for combining location-specific probability distributions of three different components: (1) long-term mean sea level change, (2) short-term sea level variations and (3) wind-generated waves. We apply the method at two locations in the Helsinki archipelago to obtain total water level estimates representing the joint effect of the still water level and the wave run-up for the present, 2050 and 2100. The variability of the wave conditions between the study sites leads to a difference in the safe building levels of up to 1m. The rising mean sea level in the Gulf of Finland and the uncertainty related to the associated scenarios contribute notably to the total water levels for the year 2100. A test with theoretical wave run-up distributions illustrates the effect of the relative magnitude of the sea level variations and wave conditions on the total water level. We also discuss our method's applicability to other coastal regions.

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The coastal flooding risks based on the combined effect of sea level variations and wind-generated waves are estimated for the present, 2050 and 2100. The variability of the wave conditions between the two case study locations in the Helsinki archipelago leads to a difference in the safe building levels of up to 1 m. The rising mean sea level in the Gulf of Finland and the uncertainty of the associated scenarios contribute to the flooding risks notably in 2100.
The coastal flooding risks based on the combined effect of sea level variations and...
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