Transatlantic Solutions to Sea Level Rise Adaptation:
Moving Beyond the Threat

October 30-31, 2013; Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Quantifying Coastal Storm and Sea Level Rise Risks to Naval Station Norfolk (SERDP RC-1701)

Kelly A. Burks-Copes, Edmond J. Russo
Environmental Laboratory, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS

Rising seas threaten increasing storm risks to coastal military mission performance threatening our nation’s security. While commanders may be situationally aware of their installation’s vulnerabilities, demonstrable risk-based assessments have yet to be developed that can assist them in proactively adapting military systems, processes, and protocols to meet this pervasive threat. By systematically characterizing the existing environment, predicting changes to the coastline, simulating hurricanes moving across the region, quantifying the resultant “forcings” (i.e., floodwaters, waves, winds), and constructing a dependency-based network model of the installation’s assets and capabilities, researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development team now have the ability to assess damages caused by tropical storms in combination with various sea level rise scenarios impacting the North Atlantic Coast. As a demonstration, we have applied the risk-based assessment to Naval Station Norfolk (NSN) (Hampton Roads, VA). Our results quantifiably demonstrate the threat to NSN mission sustainability. Thresholds where minor mission impairments evolve into catastrophic disasters have been identified for defensible consideration in proactive life cycle asset management and budgeting to reduce the potential for experiencing these risks. Here, we provide a high-level briefing of the project, detailing the modeling activities and describing our approach to integrating these disparate metrics into a transparent, scientifically-based and robust risk assessment for the U.S. Navy and their mission critical infrastructure networks.