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Extreme Sea Surge Responses to Climate Variability in Coastal British Columbia, Canada

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This article presents a statistical investigation of the spatial and temporal changes of extreme sea surges in response to climate variability in coastal British Columbia. The study was based on an investigation of in situ hourly tide gauge data spanning the interval from 1950 to 2007 at eleven tide gauges in the region. The characteristics of the recorded extreme sea surges were parametrically modeled by the generalized extreme value distribution while accounting for trends and dependence via climate covariate coefficients. The study confirms that decadal to interdecadal climatic variability is a fundamental element in explaining the changing frequency and intensity of sea surges in coastal British Columbia. For instance, the sea-surge response to climate variability impacts on sites along the British Columbia coast were found to be fairly synchronous with an increase (decrease) in the magnitude of extreme sea surges in response to warm (cold) El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions. These trends make the flooding risks even higher during warm ENSO conditions, especially if the global sea levels continue to rise as predicted by climate models.

Keywords: análisis de valores extremos; climate variability; covariables marejadas extremas; covariates; extreme sea surges; extreme value analysis; período de retorno; return period; variabilidad del clima

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Neptune Canada and University of Victoria, Canada 2: Department of Geography,University of Victoria, Canada 3: Environment Canada,

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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