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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Gulf of Maine Flood Hazard: From Theoretical to Community-Collaborative Research

Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | 4:00 pm
Hannah Baranes Hannah Baranes
Gulf of Maine Research Institute


Coastal management and resilience planning relies on estimates of present and future coastal flood recurrence intervals – for example, what does the 1% annual chance flood look like? Modes of flooding along the Gulf of Maine coast (the north shore of Cape Cod through Maine) are unique within the U.S. in that a storm’s timing relative to high tide and the height of the tide on the particular day the storm hits are more dominant drivers of flood severity than the intensity of the storm itself. Thus, standard observation and model-based methods do not yield reliable estimates of flood recurrence intervals in the Gulf of Maine.

In graduate school (and as a NE CASC fellow!), Hannah developed a statistical model that more accurately captures the influence of storm-astronomical tide alignment on flood hazard. Hannah will describe how she has leveraged that work to support coastal resilience planning efforts in collaboration with municipal, civic, and community partners in Massachusetts and Maine. She served on the Greater Boston Research Advisory Group, co-authoring a sea level rise and coastal flooding chapter for their climate projections report. In Maine, she is expanding the state’s network of tide gauges using emerging low-cost technologies; developing community science and education programs to tie measured water levels to local flood impacts; and designing statistics for a statewide probabilistic flood hazard model.

About the Speaker

A former NE CASC Graduate Fellow, Hannah Baranes is a postdoctoral researcher at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. She received her doctoral degree in Geosciences from UMass Amherst. 

Connection Information

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