Identification of Transportation Infrastructure at Risk due to Sea-Level Rise and Subsidence of Land in Coastal Louisiana


Climate change can affect coastal areas in a variety of ways. Coasts are sensitive to sea level rise, changes in the frequency/intensity of storms, increase in precipitation and storm surges. The resilience of transportation infrastructure located in Louisiana's coastal zone, against storm surges and climatic sea-level rise is critical. The net change in sea-level is affected by the increase in global sea level as well as land movement up or down. There are many places in coastal Louisiana that have a high subsidence rate. The subsidence could be related to excess extraction activities of oil and water, natural and/or human induced compaction, and tectonic movement. Where the land is sinking, the rate of relative sea level rise is larger than the global rate. Some of the fastest rates of relative sea level rise in the United States are occurring in areas where the land is sinking, including parts of the Gulf Coast. For example, coastal Louisiana has seen its relative sea level rise by eight inches or more in the last 50 years, which is about twice the global rate. Subsiding land in the Gulf area worsens the effects of relative sea level rise, increasing the risk of flooding in cities, inhabited islands, and tidal wetlands. The research team is investigating the trends for sea-level rise and land subsidence in coastal region of Louisiana. The variability in storm surges and its potential implication on the transportation infrastructure in the region is the focus of the study. The spatial maps will be created for spatial trends. This is extremely useful in being prepared for long-term natural hazards. The results of this study will be helpful to LADOTD and infrastructure managers and officials who are tasked with resiliency planning and management. Research results will also directly benefit university researchers in the state, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and LADOTD/LTRC through collaborative activity which will educate both professionals and the general public on issues related to transportation infrastructure in coastal areas while increasing overall public awareness. Also, the outcomes of the project will serve as an educational and research tool to convey to undergraduate and graduate students on how climate changes affect the transportation infrastructure safety/stability in the coastal region of the state.

Meeting Name

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (2017: Dec. 11-15, New Orleans, LA)


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Biogeophysics; Biogeosciences; Ecosystems, Structure and Dynamics; Biogeosciences; Earth System Modeling; Global Change; Sea Level Change

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2017 American Geophysical Union (AGU), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2017