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article imageHigh-tide flooding already impacting coastal communities

By Karen Graham     Feb 16, 2019 in Environment
Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots, and it's going to get worse.
We are not only going to see more frequent flooding but according to a new study published on February 15 in the journal Science Advances, it is also becoming creating an economic downside for businesses.
Researchers from Stanford University studied and quantified the economic impact of frequent high-tide flooding in Annapolis, Maryland, a coastal community in the US. The economic impacts on businesses have not been the focus of studies dealing with high-tide flooding, also called nuisance or sunny-day floods.
This kind of flooding can be challenging because of the short duration of these floods and their impacts. However, the frequency of high-tide flooding has increased along with sea level rise by as much as 60 percent across U.S. coastlines as compared to typical flooding about 20 years ago,
Downtown Annapolis business losses
Stanford graduate student Miyuki Hino and her colleagues used a unique approach to quantitate the economic impact of high-tide flooding in Annapolis. The research team found that businesses in the downtown area had a loss of 3,000 visits in 2017 due to high-tide flooding, which equates to a loss of somewhere between $86,000 and $172,000 in revenue.
“Small businesses in downtown Annapolis rely on visitors. By measuring the extent of the impact of flooding, we can understand the business case – how sea level rise is already impacting businesses’ experiences and profits,” said Samanthe Belanger, a co-author and Stanford MBA student at the time of the study.
"As global temperatures and sea levels rise, high-tide flooding becomes more frequent," said Hino, according to "For coastal businesses, that means more days when customers might not be able to get to their store. Even though most floods only last for a few hours, their impacts can add up."
(A) Annapolis  located adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay. The red box marks the historic downtown and C...
(A) Annapolis, located adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay. The red box marks the historic downtown and City Dock area. (B) Aerial image of the City Dock parking lot, with the locations of two storm drains marked in yellow and two entrances marked with red arrows. The blue rectangle marks the Market Space parking lot.
Miyuki Hino et. al.
The study and its conclusions
The research team used information and data gathered from parking meters, satellite imagery, interviews, and other data to determine how would-be customers might be dissuaded from visiting businesses during high-tide flooding in an area near the water known as City Dock.
They found that customers did not return to shop after the flooding had subsided several hours later, nor did they park somewhere close by and wade through the water to reach the businesses. "So often we think of climate change and sea level rise as these huge ideas happening at a global scale, but high-tide flooding is one way to experience these changes in your daily life just trying to get to your restaurant reservation," Hino said.
The researchers concluded the losses due to recurrent flooding are already affecting the profitability of these businesses, and the losses will worsen as sea level rises unless changes are made. The study also notes that "additional research is needed to explore the full range of impacts, such as increased travel time due to road closures, missed work hours, or damage to cars, roadways, or other infrastructure."
More about Climate change, hightide flooding, coastal communities, economic impacts', sunnyday flooding
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