UCF experts work to predict extreme change in sea level
Two UCF experts are developing a method of predicting “extreme sea level changes” by combining weather, climate and tidal data.
Publishing their most recent findings Tuesday in the journal “Nature Scientific Data,” Mamunur Rashid and Thomas Wahl are developing an indicator that takes into account tidalgauge data and major weather and ocean forces affecting extreme sea levels along the nation’s coasts.
“What this indicator does, which other indicators do not show, is how weather and climate forces interact with predictable tides to make up high sea levels that can be potentially dangerous,” said Wahl, an assistant professor in UCF’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering and a member of the university’s National Center for Integrated Coastal Research.
The researchers’ goal is for the indicator to one day allow predictions of when and where extreme sea level changes will occur.
“Hopefully, at some point such information can help guide the development of sustainable coastal adaptation plans,” said Rashid, a postdoctoral research associate in the same department and the study’s lead writer.
The researchers found that factors vary behind extreme sea-levels changes at, for example, Cedar Key along Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast, Jacksonville near Florida’s Atlantic coast and Portland, Maine.
“Knowing these differences can aid policy makers in devising coastal resiliency strategies,” Rashid said.
The research was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Observations and Monitoring Program.
Wahl earned his doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Siegen, Germany, and joined UCF in 2017. Rashid earned his doctorate in water engineering from the University of South Australia, and joined UCF in 2018.
UCF experts are developing a tool for predicting sea rise.