Analysis of storm surge impacts on transportation systems in the Georgia coastal area

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Restrepo, Ana Catalina
Meyer, Michael D.
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Many Climate Scientists believe that global warming will produce more extreme weather events such as tropical storms, hurricanes, intense rainfall, and flooding. These events are considered to be the most catastrophic natural events for transportation systems especially in coastal areas. Due to the severe damage from storm surge and flooding. Evaluating the magnitude of possible storm surges and their impacts on transportation systems in coastal areas is fundamental to developing adaptation plans and impact assessments to mitigate the damage. This thesis focuses on existing transportation systems in the Georgia coastal area that could be affected by several storm surges. An existing storm surge model is used to estimate the storm surges and the surge heights based on the category, direction, and forward speed of a storm. The ground elevation of the ports, interstates, state roads, railroads, and the principal airports on the Georgia coast are identified through a GIS analysis using the national elevation data set. Having the storm surge elevation and the elevation of the existing infrastructure, a GIS study is performed to identify those parts of the transportation system that will be affected by each type of storm giving results such as the length or sections of transportation assets under or above the surge elevation. A literature review of storm surge, rising sea levels, and their impacts on coastal bridges, roads, airports, ports, and railroads is presented in the thesis. Also, a description of the software used to analyze and estimate the impacts of climate change on transportation systems is described.
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