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Antonia Sebastian

Antonia Sebastian

Assistant Professor
Director, UNC Sustainable Triangle Field Site
324 Mitchell Hall, CB#3315
Google Scholar Profile
Curriculum vitae (CV)

Flood Hydrology and Hazards Lab


B.S. Rice University, 2011
Ph.D. Rice University, 2016

Research Interests

Applied Hydrology and Water Resources

Research in my lab focuses on understanding dynamic changes in watershed hydrology and their influences on flood hazards under rapidly changing anthropogenic conditions. We also work on topics related to risk quantification, visualization, and communication. Much of our research is computational in nature, utilizing watershed-scale hydrologic and hydraulic models, as well as geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analytical and statistical tools. Current projects in my lab aim to address three primary questions:

  • How are changes in development patterns and anthropogenic warming impacting flood risks in urban and coastal communities?
  • How can physical, analytical and statistical models be leveraged to better predict flood hazards and risks across multiple scales?
  • How can current and future flood risks be managed through combinations of structural and non-structural solutions?

Research and Activities

My group is participating in several large federally-funded projects, including the following:
The NOAA-funded Climate Adaptation Partnership (CAP) Carolinas Collaborative on Climate, Health, and Equity (C3HE)
The DHS-funded Coastal Resilience Center (
The NSF-funded Convergence Accelerator Dynamics of Extreme Events People and Places (DEEPP) Hub

We also engage in policy-relevant research for community stakeholders and state agencies through established organizations like:
The North Carolina Policy Collaboratory –
The North Carolina Sea Grant/Water Resources Research Institute
The Institute for Disaster Resilient Texas –

Selected Publications

Juan, A., Gori, A.*, Sebastian, A. (2020) Comparing floodplain evolution in channelized and unchannelized urban watersheds in Houston, Texas. Journal of Flood Risk Management, doi: 10.1111/jfr3.12604. Sebastian, A., Gori, A.*, Blessing, R., van der Wiel, K., Bass, B. (2019) Disentangling the relative impacts of human and environmental change on catchment response during Hurricane Harvey. Environmental Research Letters, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab5234. Mobley, W.+, Sebastian, A.+, Highfield, W.E., Brody, S.D. (2019) Estimating Flood Extent during Hurricane Harvey using Maximum Entropy in a Hazard Distribution Model. Journal of Flood Risk Management, doi: 10.1111/jfr3.12549. +these authors contributed equally to this work Couasnon, A.A.*, Sebastian, A., Morales-N´apoles, O. (2018) A copula-based approach for modeling stochastic boundary conditions in a coastal catchment: An application to the Houston Ship Channel, Texas. Water (Special Issue: Copulas in Hydrology), 10(9), 1190-1209. doi: 10.3390/w10091190. Lendering, K.T.+, Sebastian, A.+, Jonkman, S.N., Kok, M. (2018). Guidelines for assessing the performance of flood adaptation innovations within a risk-based framework. Journal of Flood Risk Management, doi: 10.1111/jfr3.12485. +these authors contributed equally to this work Paprotny, D., Sebastian, A., Morales-N´apoles, O., Jonkman, S.N. (2018). Trends in European flood losses over the past 150 years. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04253-1. Blessing, R., Sebastian, A., Brody, S.D. (2018). Flood Risk Delineation in the U.S.: How much loss are we capturing? ASCE Natural Hazards Review, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000242. Van Oldenborgh, G.J., Van der Wiel, K., Sebastian, A., Singh, R., Arrighi, J., Otto, F., Haustein, K., Li, S., Vecchi, G., Cullen, H. (2017). Attribution of the extreme rainfall from Hurricane Harvey, August 2017. Environmental Research Letters, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa9ef2. Sebastian, A., Dupuits, E.J.C., Morales-Napoles, O. (2017). Applying a Bayesian Network based on Gaussian Copulas to Model the Hydraulic Boundary Conditions for Hurricane Flood Risk Analysis in a Coastal Watershed, Coastal Engineering, doi: 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2017.03.008.