F&ES 790a / 2018-2019

Sea Level Rise, Storms, and Coastal Defense

Credits: 3
Fall 2018: M, 1:00-3:50, Kroon 321


The purpose of this course is to develop detailed coastal defense plans for Connecticut towns. Starting from available data about coastal tides, the class develops an empirical estimate of the probability of flooding along the Connecticut coast. Pairs of students then choose a town to study. Each pair identifies which properties are at risk of flooding over the next one hundred years and then calculates the expected damage from flooding for the next thirty years given current risks for each segment of the coast. Students evaluate what defense strategy (nothing, hardened structures, or retreat) minimizes the sum of defense costs plus expected damage. A separate analysis is undertaken to protect wetlands and beaches. The analysis then takes into account sea-level rise over time. The objective is to identify a scientifically supported strategy for each town.