The National Science Foundation has recently awarded two new grants to Dr. Wahl and his research group. One of the projects is funded under the US NSF/GEO – UK NERC Lead Agency Opportunity, fostering close collaboration between Dr. Wahl and his group at UCF with multiple scientists at the University of Southampton, UK. The project, with a volume of $900k (including $250k for Dr. Wahl’s group), is entitled “Understanding compound flooding in the past, present, and future for North Atlantic coastlines (CHANCE)”. The research team will conduct intensive experiments to better understand the interplay between different drivers of coastal floodings, such as storm surges, waves, and precipitation/river discharge. Compound events, when two or more of these drivers coincide, can lead to disproportionate high impacts. Yet, these types of events had little attention from the scientific community and are not adequately included in current design approaches and risk analysis and mitigation efforts.
The second project is funded under NSF’s PREEVENTS program (Prediction of and Resilience against Extreme Events) and has a total budget of $1.2 million (including $225k for Dr. Wahl’s group). Dr. Wahl will collaborate with colleagues at Stevens Institute of Technology, City College of New York, and California Polytechnic State University to disentangle “Geomorphic versus climatic drivers of changing coastal flood risk”. Many of the world’s estuaries and deltas are subject to significant changes, on the one hand, due to human impacts such as channel deepening, removal of wetlands, or rapid urbanization, and on the other hand due to climate change and variability, most notably sea level rise and changes in storm characteristics. Combing recently discovered historical data, numerical modeling, and advanced non-stationary and multivariate extreme value statistics, the team will assess the changes different estuaries along the US east coast have experienced in the past and what the drivers were. This will ultimately lead to improved predictions of future flood risk changes.