The Impact of Sea Level Rise on an Urban Flood Control System
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 – ( 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm )
Location: Carnegie Room 315
BY Dr. Robert Miskewitz
Assistant Research Professor
Dr. Miskewitz’s research focuses upon sustainability of water resources with respect to emerging issues such as urban development, aging infrastructure, sea-level rise, and altered rainfall patterns. A study will be presented that investigated the impact of one such stressor on flood control in coastal areas. Sea level rise resulting from climate change and land subsidence is expected to severely impact the duration and associated damage resulting from flooding events in tidal communities. These communities must continuously invest resources for the maintenance of existing structures and installation of new flood prevention infrastructure. Tide gates are a common flood prevention structure for low-lying communities in the tidal zone. Tide gates close during incoming tides to prevent inundation from downstream water propagating inland and open during outgoing tides to drain upland areas. Higher downstream mean sea level elevations reduce the effectiveness of tide gates by impacting the hydraulics of the system.
This project developed a HEC-RAS and HEC-HMS model of an existing tide gate structure and its upland drainage area in the New Jersey Meadowlands to simulate the impact of rising mean sea level elevations on the tide gate’s ability to prevent upstream flooding. Model predictions indicate that sea level rise will reduce the tide gate effectiveness resulting in longer lasting and deeper flood events. The results indicate that there is a critical point in the sea level elevation for this local area, beyond which flooding scenarios become dramatically worse and would have a significantly negative impact on the standard of living and ability to conduct business in the area.
Dr. Miskewitz is currently an Assistant Research Professor and Instructor with the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University. He graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering in 2005. His research has focused upon watershed investigation and modeling, evaluations of changing environmental conditions upon infrastructure and water allocation. He has also taught and developed curriculum for multiple classes in the field of environmental science and water resource engineering on both the