Modelling multi-hazard hurricane damages on an urbanized coast with a Bayesian Network approach

Coastal Engineering
By: , and 



Hurricane flood impacts to residential buildings in coastal zones are caused by a number of hazards, such as inundation, overflow currents, erosion, and wave attack. However, traditional hurricane damage models typically make use of stage-damage functions, where the stage is related to flooding depth only. Moreover, these models are deterministic and do not consider the large amount of uncertainty associated with both the processes themselves and with the predictions. This uncertainty becomes increasingly important when multiple hazards (flooding, wave attack, erosion, etc.) are considered simultaneously. This paper focusses on establishing relationships between observed damage and multiple hazard indicators in order to make better probabilistic predictions. The concept consists of (1) determining Local Hazard Indicators (LHIs) from a hindcasted storm with use of a nearshore morphodynamic model, XBeach, and (2) coupling these LHIs and building characteristics to the observed damages. We chose a Bayesian Network approach in order to make this coupling and used the LHIs ‘Inundation depth’, ‘Flow velocity’, ‘Wave attack’, and ‘Scour depth’ to represent flooding, current, wave impacts, and erosion related hazards.

The coupled hazard model was tested against four thousand damage observations from a case site at the Rockaway Peninsula, NY, that was impacted by Hurricane Sandy in late October, 2012. The model was able to accurately distinguish ‘Minor damage’ from all other outcomes 95% of the time and could distinguish areas that were affected by the storm, but not severely damaged, 68% of the time. For the most heavily damaged buildings (‘Major Damage’ and ‘Destroyed’), projections of the expected damage underestimated the observed damage. The model demonstrated that including multiple hazards doubled the prediction skill, with Log-Likelihood Ratio test (a measure of improved accuracy and reduction in uncertainty) scores between 0.02 and 0.17 when only one hazard is considered and a score of 0.37 when multiple hazards are considered simultaneously. The LHIs with the most predictive skill were ‘Inundation depth’ and ‘Wave attack’. The Bayesian Network approach has several advantages over the market-standard stage-damage functions: the predictive capacity of multiple indicators can be combined; probabilistic predictions can be obtained, which include uncertainty; and quantitative as well as descriptive information can be used simultaneously.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Modelling multi-hazard hurricane damages on an urbanized coast with a Bayesian Network approach
Series title Coastal Engineering
DOI 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2015.05.006
Volume 103
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 1
Last page 14
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