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An Ensemble Study of Extreme North Sea Storm Surges in a Changing Climate : Volume 6, Issue 2 (18/05/2009)

By Sterl, A.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004021038
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 29
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: An Ensemble Study of Extreme North Sea Storm Surges in a Changing Climate : Volume 6, Issue 2 (18/05/2009)  
Author: Sterl, A.
Volume: Vol. 6, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Ocean, Science
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Vries, H. D., Haarsma, R., Den Brink, H. V., Sterl, A., & Meijgaard, E. V. (2009). An Ensemble Study of Extreme North Sea Storm Surges in a Changing Climate : Volume 6, Issue 2 (18/05/2009). Retrieved from

Description: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), P.O. Box 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, The Netherlands. The height of storm surges is extremely important for a low-lying country like the Netherlands. By law, part of the coastal defence system has to withstand a water level that on average occurs only once every 10 000 years. The question then arises whether and how climate change affects the heights of extreme storm surges. Published research points to only small changes. However, due to the limited amount of data available results are usually limited to relatively frequent extremes like the annual 99%-ile. We here report on results from a 17-member ensemble of North Sea water levels spaning the period 1950–2100. It was created by forcing a surge model of the North Sea with meteorological output from a state-of-the-art global climate model which has been driven by greenhouse gas emissions following the SRES A1b scenario. The large ensemble size enables us to calculate 10 000 year return water levels with a low statistical uncertainty. We find no statistically significant change in the 10 000 year return values of surge heights along the Dutch during the 21st century. Also a higher sea level resulting from global warming does not impact the height of the storm surges. As a side effect of our simulations we also obtain results on the interplay between surge and tide.

An ensemble study of extreme North Sea storm surges in a changing climate

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