Improving storm surge modelling in the North Sea
Changes in coastal sea level caused by the combined effect of surface winds and air pressure have the potential to cause widespread coastal flooding, damage to infrastructure and loss of life.
The low-lying lands bordering the North Sea are particularly vulnerable as was seen most notably in the catastrophic events of 1953. It is expected that climate change will increase the frequency and severity of such events.
To protect life and property, the UK Met Office operates a storm surge forecast that runs four times a day. Knowledge of the topography of the sea floor is crucial to the accuracy of these forecasts. After extensive testing, the UK Met Office found that replacing the previous topographical data with that from EMODnet, made massive improvements to the forecasts. The EMODnet data were therefore incorporated in the operational system.