Millions of people in low-lying areas are already affected by flooding, and the number will increase substantially in the future. Tidal flooding, the form of flooding caused by a combination of high tides and sea level rise to overcome protection levels, can cause damage and inconveniences such as road closures, overwhelmed drainage systems, and infrastructure deterioration from water damage. Tidal flooding already occurs annually in cities along the U.S. east coast, most notably Miami. However, the time it will take for other regions globally to begin to experience tidal flooding has not yet been assessed. Therefore, there is a limited understanding of how and when human populations will be exposed to this type of flooding. Tide gauge data from the GESLA-2 data base are used to obtain information about the highest astronomical tide (HAT) and extreme value statistics for 571 locations globally. For a complete spatial analysis, modelled water levels from the Global Tide and Surge Reanalysis (GTSR) are also used. Estimated protection levels are extracted from the DIVA database and translated to absolute heights based on the extreme value statistics of high water levels. This analysis is based on calculating the difference between the existing protection level and HAT, which indicates how much sea levels can rise before tidal flooding occurs, and evaluating in what decade this is expected to happen under different sea-level rise (SLR) scenarios. Tidal trends from the nodal and perigean are also taken account and used to modify 1000 different sea level rise scenarios to provide a more comprehensive analysis of possible tidal flooding years. Our results indicate that tidal flooding may occur within a few decades in many locations (under the assumption that no adaptation will take place), and therefore awareness should be heightened so that actions can be taken to minimize the impacts.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Wahl, Thomas


Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering (B.S.Env.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date