Numerical computation of hurricane effects on historic coastal hydrology in Southern Florida

Ecological Processes
By: , and 




Numerical models are critical for assessing the effects of sea level rise (SLR), hurricanes, and storm surge on vegetation change in the Everglades National Park. The model must be capable of representing short-timescale hydrodynamics, salinity transport, and groundwater interaction. However, there is also a strong need to adapt these numerical models to hindcast past conditions in order to examine long-term effects on the distribution of vegetation that cannot be determined using only the modern record.


Based on parameters developed for a numerical model developed for the recent 1996 to 2004 period, a hindcast model was developed to represent sea level and water management for the period of 1926 to 1932, constrained by the limited hydrology and meteorology data available from the historic past. Realistic hurricane-wind and storm surge representations, required for the hindcast model, are based on information synthesized from modern storm data. A series of simulation scenarios with various hurricane representations inserted into both hindcast and recent numerical models were used to assess the utility of the storm representation in the model and compare the two simulations.


The comparison of the hindcast and recent models showed differences in the hydrology patterns that are consistent with known differences in water delivery systems and sea level rise. A 30x lower-resolution spatially variable wind grid for the hindcast produced similar results to the original high-resolution full wind grid representation of the recent simulation. Storm effects on hydrologic patterns demonstrated with the simulations show hydrologic processes that could have a long-term effect on vegetation change.


The hindcast simulation estimated hydrologic processes for the 1926 to 1932 period. It shows promise as a simulator in long-term ecological studies to test hypotheses based on theoretical or empirical-based studies at larger landscape scales.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Numerical computation of hurricane effects on historic coastal hydrology in Southern Florida
Series title Ecological Processes
DOI 10.1186/s13717-014-0028-3
Volume 4
Issue 4
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Publisher location Heidelberg
Contributing office(s) FLWSC-Ft. Lauderdale
Description 20 p.
First page 1
Last page 20
Country United States
State Florida
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N