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PhD Proposal Defense: Taylor Asher
February 27, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
The PhD Proposal Defense of Taylor Asher is presented by the Department of Marine Sciences. This event will be held on Wednesday, February 27th, at 10:00 AM. The main location of this event will be in room 3204 on the 3rd floor of Murray/Venable Hall on UNC campus in Chapel Hill, NC. The defense will be broadcast live to both UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences room 222 and online via Zoom (Meeting ID: 391-831-826).
Title: An Assessment of Uncertainties in Coastal Flood Hazards
Abstract: As the Great Gale of 1815 passed over his Massachusetts home, Noah Webster, the eponymous dictionary creator, penned the definition of hurricane in his diary. Roughly a hundred years later, after the conclusion of World War I, the famed physicist H.A. Lorentz came up with the Zuider Zee formula, a simple quadratic equation to calculate storm surge so that the Dutch could build better defenses against the deadly floods. Yet, in spite of having both a name and an equation for over a century, a robust analysis of uncertainty around coastal flooding has yet to be completed for one of the planet’s deadliest natural hazards. As we have improved our ability to quantify dangers from these events, we have paradoxically placed ourselves increasingly close to them. Teetering on such perilous thresholds, it is critical to estimate not just the hazard, but our confidence in our estimation. In my PhD work, I will take steps toward quantifying two sources of surge uncertainty. I will demonstrate physical patterns that can be uncovered from large storm surge datasets, which may allow me to develop an uncertainty model for numerical storm surge models. And, I will evaluate the level of uncertainty in statistical tropical cyclone climatology models in order to determine the resulting probabilistic storm surge hazard uncertainty.