Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography & Anthropology

Document Type



Relative sea level rise (RSLR) and tropical cyclone-induced storm surge are major threats to the Lower Mississippi River Industrial Corridor (LMRIC) which has approximately 120 industrial complexes located within the corridor. Spatial interpolation methods were applied to the 2004 National Oceanic and Atmospheric published Technical Report #50 subsidence dataset and cross-validation techniques were used to determine the accuracy of each method. Digital elevation models (DEMs) were created for the years 2025, 2050, and 2075, based on these predictive surface of subsidence rates. Future DEMs were utilized to model RSLR and determine the extent of storm surge on the LMRIC by simulating storm surge from past hurricane events. Results indicate the empirical Bayesian kriging interpolation method was the most accurate of the methods, having the lowest mean error and root mean square error scores. By 2025, approximately 31.4% of landmass in the LMRIC is predicted to be below 0 m NAVD88, with 40.4% below 0 m NAVD88 by 2025, and 51.8% by 2075. Nine of the 122 industrial complexes located in the LMRIC are estimated to be below 0 m NAVD88 by the year 2075. Results also indicate that RSLR will have a direct impact on flood depth and extent of tropical cyclone-induced storm surge. Models indicate that if current projections of RSLR are correct, then eight of the 122 industrial facilities in the LMRIC would be impacted by storm surge from a future storm like Hurricane Katrina, six from a Hurricane Gustav, and two from a Hurricane Rita.



Committee Chair

Rohli, Robert