Coastal flooding takes many forms, ranging from major flooding associated with storms to minor flooding associated with exceptionally high tides and other oceanic and atmospheric phenomena on storm-free days. A major societal challenge is to understand and predict how flood magnitude and frequency will manifest at particular places and times, now and in the future. Of particular interest here is how coastal flooding will impact Department of Defense (DoD) installations. In response to this need, this work aimed to advance the practical application of statistical and other analytical techniques that can be used to assess the exposure, and ultimately the vulnerability, of built and natural environments to the impacts of coastal flooding.

Technical Approach

A variety of methods are described and applied to assess exposure. This includes tide gauge station-based diagnosis and prognosis of patterns and trends of Still Water Level, techniques to characterize the expression of ‘lesser extremes’ (e.g., sub-annual to subdecadal event probabilities), and region-wide analysis that improves upon results obtained from conventional single-tide gauge analyses. A novel hybrid statistical and dynamical modeling approach is applied to the analysis of Total Water Levels, necessary for exposure assessment along shorelines exposed to wave action.


The hybrid exposure assessment modeling approach is incorporated into a broader mission-based protocol for the assessment of resilience to coastal flooding at the installation level. Demonstrated via an exemplar assessment, which takes into account functional (lost day) as well as financial impacts (lost dollars), the protocol meets the demand for an actionable characterization of how DoD installations will be affected by coastal flooding and improves DoD’s ability to make informed decisions about how to adapt to its effects.


The methods described, evaluated, and applied here, including innovative approaches and proof-of-concept products developed through this work, are incorporated into and considered within an analytical framework that serves as guidance as to their relative merits with respect to coastal flood exposure assessment in various circumstances and settings, and illustrates best practices. This will provide engineers, scientists and other practitioners with an enhanced capability to generate information that can be used to support area-wide assessment related to climate adaptation planning and disaster risk reduction as well as site-specific analysis related to design and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure. While the focus is on a select set of DoD sites in the Pacific Basin, the results have broad applicability nationally as well as globally.