Assessing Inundation Risk and Possible Race and Income Correlations


Assessing Inundation Risk and Possible Race and Income Correlations



Ryan M Matzuk



This project has two objectives: (1) map areas vulnerable to inundation and (2) determine whether or not there is an racial or income disparity between the citizens of Harris County, TX at risk of inundation compared to those not at risk. Harris County is a relatively flat, near-coastal, highly urbanized, and low elevation area. This makes it highly susceptible to inundation issues from both sea level rise and high-precipitation storms such as hurricanes. Risk areas will be determined by utilizing Hurricane Harvey precipitation data to mimic a large, high-precipitation storm as well as by utilizing sea level rise projection data for the year 2100 to reveal inundation and land-loss from rising sea levels. This analysis will be performed using multiple digital elevation models (DEMs) from 2008 to precisely measure land-surface elevation of the study area. Hurricane Harvey precipitation data will be used in order to replicate precipitation conditions of large storms. The precipitation data will be used to create a map layer in order to visualize the areas at high risk of inundation. A similar map will also be created using sea level rise predictions for the year 2100. Census block data will be applied to the study area and analyzed in order to determine racial and mean income statistics for areas inside and outside of the high-risk floodplains. This study can provide critical information needed for future planning to address climate change as well as environmental justice issues.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Capstone Project

Primary Advisor

Shuang-Ye Wu

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Assessing Inundation Risk and Possible Race and Income Correlations