Multihazard Simulation for Coastal Flood Mapping: Bathtub versus Numerical Modelling in an Open Estuary, Eastern Canada

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Coastlines along the St. Lawrence Estuary and Gulf, Eastern Canada, are under increasing risk of flooding due to sea level rise and sea ice shrinking. Efficient and validated regional-scale coastal flood mapping approaches that include storm surges and waves are hence required to better prepare for the increased hazard. This paper compares and validates two different flood mapping methods: numerical flood simulations using XBeach and bathtub mapping based on total water levels, forced with multihazard scenarios of compound wave and water level events. XBeach is validated with hydrodynamic measurements. Simulations of a historical storm event are performed and validated against observed flood data over a ~25 km long coastline using multiple fit metrics. XBeach and the bathtub method correctly predict flooded areas (66 and 78%, respectively), but the latter overpredicts the flood extent by 36%. XBeach is a slightly more robust flood mapping approach with a fit of 51% against 48% for the bathtub maps. Deeper floodwater by ~0.5 m is expected with the bathtub approach, and more buildings are vulnerable to a 100-year flood level. For coastal management at regional-scale, despite similar flood extents with both flood mapping approaches, results suggest that numerical simulation with XBeach outperforms bathtub flood mapping.


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