Center for Geospatial Analytics Calendar
Geospatial Forum with Dr. Antonia Sebastian (UNC-Chapel Hill)
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Dr. Antonia Sebastian
Assistant Professor in UNC-Chapel Hill's Department of Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences; hosted by Dr. Helena Mitasova
Attributing Flood Hazards to Anthropogenic Change: Insights from Hurricane Harvey and Southeast Texas
Insured flood loss in Texas has risen rapidly since 1978, totaling nearly $16.4 billion USD by the end of 2021. These losses have been predominantly concentrated in coastal and urban areas where changes in extreme precipitation coupled with rapid population growth at the coastal margin and in upland areas have dramatically altered the hydrologic response of local catchments. This forum presentation will highlight recent findings from urban flood studies in the Houston-Galveston region with a specific emphasis on attributing changes in runoff patterns to climate and land use dynamics using hydrologic and hydrodynamic models.
Dr. Sebastian is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she holds appointments in both the Department of Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences and the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program (E3P). Sebastian’s primary research interests involve the application of interdisciplinary methods in socio-hydrology and engineering, with a particular focus on understanding how flood risks are evolving in response to changing human and environmental conditions. Her recent work investigates the combined impacts of climate and land use change on flood hazards in Eastern North Carolina and Southeast Texas, as well as the financial risks posed by flooding to households and communities located in coastal plain watersheds. Dr. Sebastian is currently engaged in projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Texas General Land Office and the North Carolina State Legislature. Dr. Sebastian serves as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Scientific Committees on Adaptation to a Changing Climate (CACC), Hydroclimatology and Engineering Adaptation (HYDEA), and Coastal Engineering Sciences, and she is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Delta Urbanism. In 2020, she was selected as a Fellow by the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Enabling Program to support early career scientists researching natural hazards and disasters. Prior to joining UNC, she spent two years as an Associate Research Scientist at Texas A&M University at Galveston where she served on the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas after Hurricane Harvey and helped to establish the Institute for Texas Disaster Resilience. She also spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Hydraulic Engineering at Delft University of Technology where she worked on the EU Horizon2020 Project Bridging the Gap in Innovations in Disaster Resilience (BRIGAID). Dr. Sebastian holds a Ph.D. and B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rice University and is a former Netherlands-America Foundation (NAF)/Fulbright Fellow in Flood Management.