Modelling risk hurricane elements in potentially affected areas by a GIS system

Andrea Taramelli, Laura Melelli, Massimiliano Pasqui & Alessandro Sorichetta
Published in: Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk, 1:4, 349-373
Date: November 20, 2010


In the last decade, modelling hurricanes in potentially affected areas using geographical information systems (GIS) and geospatial cyberinfrastracture (GCI) has become a major topic of research. Despite some basic approaches, some unsolved questions are still under discussion.

The disastrous effects of hurricanes on communities are well known, however, there is a need to better understand the hazard contributions of the different components related to a hurricane, such as storm surges, floods and high winds. In this paper, the selected approach is to determine an onset zoning from a set of attributes that are considered to govern the hurricane while examining the influence of each individual component that produces the final exposure. To this end, this study assesses the different components using parameters derived from topography, bathymetry and hurricane physical indexes. Key attributes are the river network, the topography, the wetness index and the offline bathymetry.

Complementary data include the CMORPH rain dataset and the hurricane track together with its structure model, both based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) datasets. Total hazard results were then overlaid with population data in the overall assessment of elements at risk. The approach, which made use of a number of available global and free datasets, was then validated on a regional basis using ground data collected by the World Food Programme (WFP) over the study area (Central America region) for a specific hurricane.