Limiting the devastating impact of a hurricane

Research investigates storm surge resilience measures

Date posted

11 September 2017


Edinburgh Napier research exploring ways of combating storm surge will be unveiled this week – just as Hurricane Irma batters Florida.

PhD student Anitha Karthik will present an examination of current resilience measures to the first international workshop on waves, storm surges and coastal hazards.

The conference in Liverpool coincides with the start of hurricane season, and a period when hurricanes and their effects have been broadcast daily on international media.

A key aspect of hurricanes is the resultant storm surge, where the sea rises at the coast by five to eigth metres, causing significant damage and threat to life. 

As Hurricane Harvey and Irma have shown, the impact on people, communities, cities and businesses have been significant and in some cases have led to loss of life.

Anitha, based in our Institute for Sustainable Construction, will present work carried out at the School of Engineering & Built Environment to investigate storm surge factors, future resilience and adaptation measures. 

Anitha said the socioeconomic impacts of storm surge were immense.

“Damage due to storm surge from Hurricane Sandy (2013) was estimated to cost New York $65 billion. Storm surge was a key factor in the failure of the levees in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina (2005). This caused wide scale damage, estimated to be over $100 billion and where 40% of the 1,836 fatalities were due to drowning.”

She added: “Our work has focused on investigating the current resilience measures for housing, potential adaptation planning frameworks, which may be required, and the possibility for offshore mobile resilience measures. Our research is already attracting interest from a number of stakeholders which is very positive.” 

The conference brings together the Coastal Hazards Symposium, the Scientific and Technical symposium on storm surges and the international workshop on wave hindcasting and forecasting from 11th to 15th September. 

Anitha’s project supervisors include Professor Naren Gupta and Professor Sean Smith.

Read more about the conference here

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