Megatrends – Dynamic Coast

Project Goals:

The study (1) investigates assumptions about the future of the Mississippi River delta and the people who live in it and depend upon it using powerful novel statistical forecasting tools; (2) assesses the sensitivity of the Coastal Master Plan analysis to variability around implicit and explicit assumptions, as well as the possible importance of factors not considered that are from more recently published trajectories of climate change and energy availability; (3) tests the utility of a range of statistical forecasting models for decision-support, and (4) determines whether different forecasting models converge on one or more optimal restoration implementation sequences.

Project Team:
    • John Day Professor Emeritus of Oceanography + Coastal Sciences
    • Beibei Guo Assistant Professor of Experimental Statistics
    • Sam Bentley, PhD Professor, Department of Geology
      Associate Dean for Research, LSU College of Science
      Billy & Ann Harrison Chair in Sedimentary Geology
    • G. Paul Kemp
    • Adrian Wiegman

This project studies statistical scenario modeling of emerging megatrends to optimize the cost effectiveness and sustainability of coastal restoration in the Mississippi River Delta. The ways in which several nonstationary forcings exert significant influence on the landscape and the feasibility of coastal restoration remain under-examined. These include sea level rise, hurricane intensity, Mississippi River discharge, patterns of water level variability, energy cost, and biogeomorphic status of the coast.

Direct + Broader Impacts:
This project seeks to confirm the family of assumptions that underlie projections for cost and wetland-building effectiveness in the existing 2012 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan.