New Beware-Tool for Assessment of Flood Risks

International scientists have developed a computer simulation tool to predict short-term flood hazards on coral-reef-lined coasts and to assess longer-term impacts from climate change.

The tool is called Bayesian Estimator of Wave Attack in Reef Environments for predicting flooding (BEWARE) and can be used to understand the flood risks for low lying ocean islands that are often surrounded by coral reefs.

Scientists from Deltares, the US Geological Survey, and Delft University of Technology published an article about this tool in this month’s edition of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.

According to lead author Stuart Pearson from Deltares and Delft University of Technology, the wave and sea level conditions vary significantly in space and time.

For many locations, there are little to no data available regarding these factors,” Pearson said. “The task of coastal flood prediction is made even more difficult by the complex changes that waves undergo as they move across coral reefs and approach the shore.”

The Beware-tool can be of help in regions with poor data availability as it can generate an artificial database of wave conditions on coral reefs using the physics-based XBeach Non-Hydrostatic wave model.

The Beware-tool will give input to estimate societal or economic risk and damage from such flooding.