The reduction of storm surge by vegetation canopies: Three-dimensional simulations



[1] Significant buffering of storm surges by vegetation canopies has been suggested by limited observations and simple numerical studies, particularly following recent Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. Here we simulate storm surge and inundation over idealized topographies using a three-dimensional vegetation-resolving storm surge model coupled to a shallow water wave model and show that a sufficiently wide and tall vegetation canopy reduces inundation on land by 5 to 40 percent, depending upon various storm and canopy parameters. Effectiveness of the vegetation in dissipating storm surge and inundation depends on the intensity and forward speed of the hurricane, as well as the density, height, and width of the vegetation canopy. Reducing the threat to coastal vegetation from development, sea level rise, and other anthropogenic factors would help to protect many coastal regions against storm surges.