Coastal inundation around San Francisco Bay is defined by the interactions between oceanic and watershed forcing and the shoreline infrastructure. Sea levels, tides, and river discharges in the coastal zone interact with protective infrastructure, which can amplify or dissipate tides within the bay and impact bayfront flooding both locally and regionally. Sea level rise and changing precipitation patterns have the potential to intensify these interactions.
The analysis of the interactions between hydrodynamic processes and the built environment consists of two efforts. First, the USGS modeling framework CoSMoS (Costal Storm Modeling System), which is currently the most integrated model for projecting inundation for the San Francisco Bay Area, is being used to create geographically broad inundation projections based on downscaled ocean and precipitation data. This framework will be used to analyze the impacts of large-scale shoreline modifications, such as building county-wide sea walls, on water levels in San Francisco Bay. Second, highly-resolved models will be nested within the regional-scale model at a few focal sites to understand the impacts of various shoreline configurations on inundation dynamics in neighboring communities. The combination of these two modeling approaches will provide insight into the multi-scale interactions of infrastructure development by defining how interventions at a particular location influence conditions both locally and regionally.