The western North-Atlantic coast experienced major coastal floods in recent years. Coastal floods are primarily composed of tides and storm surges due to tropical (TCs) and extra-tropical cyclones (ETCs). We present a reanalysis from 1988 to 2015 of extreme sea levels that explicitly include TCs for the western North-Atlantic coastline. Validation shows a good agreement between modeled and observed sea levels and demonstrates that the framework can capture large-scale variability in extreme sea levels. We apply the 28-year reanalysis to analyze spatiotemporal patterns. Along the US Atlantic coasts the contribution of tides can be significant, with the average contribution of tides during the 10 largest events up to 55% in some locations, whereas along the Mexican Southern Gulf coast, the average contribution of tides over the largest 10 events is generally below 25%. At the US Atlantic coast, ETCs are responsible for 8.5 out of the 10 largest extreme events, whereas at the Gulf Coast and Caribbean TCs dominate. During the TC season more TC-driven events exceed a 10-year return period. During winter, there is a peak in ETC-driven events. Future research directions include coupling the framework with synthetic tropical cyclone tracks and extension to the global scale.
Data underlying the paper: Spatiotemporal patterns of extreme sea levels along the western North-Atlantic coasts