Prof. Kevin Horsburgh

Chief Scientist for International Development
Marine Physics and Ocean Climate
+44 (0)151 795 4835

I am Chief Scientist for International Development. My role involves creating new, and strengthening existing, international scientific partnerships, particularly in developing countries. I drive increased impact and scientific excellence for the NOC through stronger global collaboration. I also lead several trans-disciplinary projects across multiple marine science partners, funded by UK Official Development Assistance (ODA).

I have an international reputation in the field of coastal flood hazard research, including work on extreme sea levels, tides, waves, storm surges and tsunamis.  My work has a strong focus on impacts and I was a finalist in the NERC 2015 Impact Awards.

I Chair the Expert Team on Disaster Risk Reduction (ETDRR) under the auspices of the Joint Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM, a joint body of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the World Meteorological Organisation). In this role I coordinate international efforts to deliver capacity-building for coastal flood warning in the world’s most vulnerable regions


Leader of Addressing Challenges of Coastal Communities through Ocean Research for Developing Economies (ACCORD). NERC National Capability marine ODA (NC-ODA) funding

Leader of the NOC contribution to the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme (2018-2020), funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Principal Investigator on “Synthesising Unprecedented Coastal Conditions: Extreme Storm Surges (SUCCESS)”. NERC Environmental Risk to Infrastructure Innovation Programme (NE/P009158/1)

EU Horizons 2020 “Optimizing and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System (AtlantOS)”. Leader of Work Package 4, Interfaces with coastal ocean observing systems; Task Leader in Work Package 8, Societal benefits from Atlantic observing/information systems

Co-Iead (with Italy) on G7 Future of the Seas and Oceans Initiative, Action 4: Strengthen collaborative approaches to encourage development of regional observing capabilities

Co-Investigator on NERC Arctic RP project “Will climate change in the Arctic increase the landslide-tsunami risk to the UK?” (NE/K00008X/1)






Committee and Board Memberships: 
  • Head of the Oceans pillar of the NERC Doctoral Training Programme, “Understanding the Earth, Atmosphere and Ocean”
  • Chair of IOC/WMO Joint Commission on Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM) Expert Team on Disaster Risk Reduction (ETDRR)
  • Member of the Climate Expert Panel for the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation
  • Scientific Steering Committee for the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Grand Challenge, “Regional Sea Level Change and Coastal Impacts”.




Williams, Joanne; Saulter, Andy; O'Neill, Clare; Brown, Jenny; Horsburgh, Kevin. 2018 A reassessment of the UK operational surge forecasting procedure. Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, 28pp. (National Oceanography Centre Research and Consultancy Report, 62)
Horsburgh, K.; Williams, S.D.P.. 2016 Changes to estimates of extreme sea levels for Wales when data from the 2013/2014 winter are included. Report for Natural Resources Wales. Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, 14pp. (National Oceanography Centre Research and Consultancy Report, 54)
Williams, J.A.; Horsburgh, K.J.. 2013 Evaluation and comparison of the operational Bristol Channel Model storm surge suite. Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, 37pp. (National Oceanography Centre Research and Consultancy Report, 38)
Williams, J.; Wilson, C.; Horsburgh, K.. 2012 Re-analysis of the December 1981 storm surge event in the Bristol Channel using the current operational tide-surge model suite. Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, 17pp. (National Oceanography Centre Research and Consultancy Report, 26)
McMillan, A.; Batstone, C.; Worth, D.; Tawn, J.; Horsburgh, K.; Lawless, M.. 2011 Coastal flood boundary conditions for UK mainland and islands. Project SC060064/TR2: Design sea levels. Bristol, Environment Agency, 142pp. (UNSPECIFIED)
Horsburgh, K.; Maskell, J.; Williams, J.. 2011 Numerical modelling of storm surges in the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man, and analysis of those factors determining extreme sea levels of the region in a future climate. Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, 84pp. (National Oceanography Centre Research and Consultancy Report No. 12)
Horsburgh, K.; Lowe, J.. 2010 Mean sea level and sea level extremes, MCCIP Annual Report Card 2010-11. Lowestoft, Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership. (MCCIP Summary Report 2010)
Horsburgh, K.; Ball, T.; Donovan, B.; Westbrook, G.. 2010 Coastal flooding, MCCIP Annual Report Card 2010-11. Lowestoft, Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership. (MCCIP Summary Report 2010)
Williams, J.; Horsburgh, K.. 2010 Operational storm surge forecasting with 3.5km NISE10 model. Liverpool, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, 19pp. (POL Internal Document No. 199) (Unpublished)
Lowe, Jason; Howard, Tom; Pardaens, Anne; Tinker, Jonathon; Holt, Jason; Wakelin, Sarah; Milne, Glenn; Leake, James; Wolf, Judith; Horsburgh, Kevin; Reeder, Tim; Jenkins, Geoff; Ridley, Jeff; Dye, Stephen; Bradley, Sarah. 2009 UK Climate Projections Science Report: Marine and Coastal Projections. Exeter, UK, Met Office Hadley Centre, 99pp. (UNSPECIFIED)
Horsburgh, Kevin; Bradley, Leslie; Angus, M.; Smith, D. E.; Wijeratne, E. M. S.; Woodworth, Philip. 2009 High frequency sea level recording for tsunami warning and enhanced storm surge monitoring at UK sites. Liverpool, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, 26pp. (POL Internal Document No. 190)
Williams, Jane A.; Wilson, Chris; Horsburgh, Kevin J.. 2008 Data assmilation tests using NISE10 Storm Surge Model. Liverpool, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, 29pp. (Pol Internal Document No. 188)
Williams, Jane A.; Horsburgh, Kevin J.; Blackman, David L.. 2007 Evaluation of the performance of the South Coast Model from September 2005-August 2006. Liverpool, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, 17pp. (Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Report No. 182)
Farquharson, Frank; Fung, Fai; Chowdhury, Jahir U.; Hassan, Ahmadhul; Horsburgh, Kevin; Lowe, Jason. 2007 Impact of CLimate And Sea Level Change in part of the Indian Sub-Continent, (CLASIC). Final Report, February 2007. NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, 139pp. (KAR Project R8038) (Unpublished)
Williams, Jane A.; Horsburgh, Kevin J.. 2006 The Operational Storm Surge Model: maintenance, performance and development April 2005 - March 2006. Birkenhead, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, 50pp. (Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Internal Document, 178)


Pickering, M.D.; Horsburgh, K.J.; Blundell, J.R.; Hirschi, J.J.-M.; Nicholls, R.J.; Verlaan, M.; Wells, N.C.. 2017 The impact of future sea-level rise on the global tides. Continental Shelf Research, 142. 50-68.10.1016/j.csr.2017.02.004
Byrne, David; Horsburgh, Kevin; Zachry, Brian; Cipollini, Paolo. 2017 Using remotely sensed data to modify wind forcing in operational storm surge forecasting. Natural Hazards, 89 (1). 275-293.10.1007/s11069-017-2964-6
Breivik, Øyvind; Alves, Jose Henrique; Greenslade, Diana; Horsburgh, Kevin; Swail, Val. 2017 The 14th international workshop on wave hindcasting and forecasting and the 5th coastal hazards symposium. Ocean Dynamics, 67 (3-4). 551-556.10.1007/s10236-017-1033-8
Sibley, Andrew; Cox, Dave; Long, David; Tappin, David; Horsburgh, Kevin. 2016 Meteorologically generated tsunami-like waves in the North Sea on 1/2 July 2015 and 28 May 2008. Weather, 71 (3). 68-74.10.1002/wea.2696
Williams, Joanne; Horsburgh, Kevin; Williams, Jane; Proctor, Robert. 2016 Tide and skew surge independence: new insights for flood risk. Geophysical Research Letters, 43 (12). 6410-6417.10.1002/2016GL069522
Haigh, Ivan D.; Wadey, Matthew P.; Wahl, Thomas; Ozsoy, Ozgun; Nicholls , Robert J.; Brown, Jennifer M.; Horsburgh, Kevin; Gouldby, Ben. 2016 Spatial and temporal analysis of extreme sea level and storm surge events around the coastline of the UK. Scientific Data, 3. 160107.10.1038/sdata.2016.107
Haigh, Ivan D.; Wadey, Matthew P.; Gallop, Shari L; Loehr, Heiko; Nicholls, Robert J.; Horsburgh, Kevin; Brown, Jennifer M.; Bradshaw, Elizabeth. 2015 A user-friendly database of coastal flooding in the United Kingdom from 1915–2014. Scientific Data, 2. 150021.10.1038/sdata.2015.21
Hibbert, A.; Royston, S,; Horsburgh, K.; Leach, H.; Hisscott, A.. 2015 An empirical approach to improving tidal predictions using recent real-time tide gauge data. Journal of Operational Oceanography, 8 (1). 40-51.10.1080/1755876X.2015.1014641
Breivik, Øyvind; Swail, Val; Babanin, Alexander V.; Horsburgh, Kevin. 2015 The international workshop on wave hindcasting and forecasting and the coastal hazards symposium. Ocean Dynamics, 65 (5). 761-771.10.1007/s10236-015-0827-9
Wadey, Matthew; Haigh, I.D.; Nicholls , R.J.; Brown, Jennifer; Horsburgh, Kevin; Carroll, B.; Gallop, S.; Mason, T.; Bradshaw, Elizabeth. 2015 A comparison of the 31 January–1 February 1953 and 5–6 December 2013 coastal flood events around the UK. Frontiers in Marine Science, 2. 84.10.3389/fmars.2015.00084
Lewis, Matt; Horsburgh, Kevin; Bates, Paul. 2014 Bay of Bengal cyclone extreme water level estimate uncertainty. Natural Hazards, 72 (2). 983-996.10.1007/s11069-014-1046-2
Maskell, John; Horsburgh, Kevin; Lewis, Matthew; Bates, Paul. 2014 Investigating River–Surge Interaction in Idealised Estuaries. Journal of Coastal Research, 294. 248-259.10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00221.1
Yasuda, Tomohiro; Nakajo, Sota; Kim, SooYoul; Mase, Hajime; Mori, Nobuhito; Horsburgh, Kevin. 2014 Evaluation of future storm surge risk in East Asia based on state-of-the-art climate change projection. Coastal Engineering, 83. 65-71.10.1016/j.coastaleng.2013.10.003
Maskell, John; Horsburgh, Kevin; Plater, Andy J.. 2013 Investigating enhanced atmospheric–sea surface coupling and interactions in the Irish Sea. Continental Shelf Research, 53. 30-39.10.1016/j.csr.2012.11.018
Royston, S.; Lawry, J.; Horsburgh, K.. 2013 A linguistic decision tree approach to predicting storm surge. Fuzzy Sets and Systems, 215. 90-111.10.1016/j.fss.2012.10.001
Lewis, M.; Schumann, G.; Bates, P.; Horsburgh, K.. 2013 Understanding the variability of an extreme storm tide along a coastline. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 123. 19-25.10.1016/j.ecss.2013.02.009
Tappin, David R.; Sibley, Andrew; Horsburgh, Kevin; Daubord, Camille; Cox, Dave; Long, Dave. 2013 The English Channel ‘tsunami’ of 27 June 2011 : a probable meteorological source. Weather, 68 (6). 144-152.10.1002/wea.2061
Smith, P.J.; Beven, K.J.; Horsburgh, K.. 2013 Data-based mechanistic modelling of tidally affected river reaches for flood warning purposes: an example on the River Dee, UK. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 139 (671). 340-349.10.1002/qj.1926
Lewis, Matt; Bates, Paul; Horsburgh, Kevin; Neal, Jeff; Schumann, Guy. 2013 A storm surge inundation model of the northern Bay of Bengal using publicly available data. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 139 (671). 358-369.10.1002/qj.2040
Batstone, Crispian; Lawless, Mark; Tawn, Jonathan; Horsburgh, Kevin; Blackman, David; McMillan, Alastair; Worth, David; Laeger, Stefan; Hunt, Tim. 2013 A UK best-practice approach for extreme sea-level analysis along complex topographic coastlines. Ocean Engineering, 71. 28-39.10.1016/j.oceaneng.2013.02.003
Wilson, Chris; Horsburgh, Kevin J.; Williams, Jane; Flowerdew, Jonathan; Zanna, Laure. 2013 Tide-surge adjoint modeling: A new technique to understand forecast uncertainty. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 118 (10). 5092-5108.10.1002/jgrc.20364
Pickering, M.D.; Wells, N.C.; Horsburgh, K.J.; Green, J.A.M.. 2012 The impact of future sea-level rise on the European Shelf tides. Continental Shelf Research, 35. 1-15.10.1016/j.csr.2011.11.011
Royston, S.J; Horsburgh, K.J.; Lawry, J.. 2012 Application of rule based methods to predicting storm surge. Continental Shelf Research, 37. 79-91.10.1016/j.csr.2012.02.018
Lewis, Matt; Horsburgh, Kevin; Bates, Paul; Smith, Ros. 2011 Quantifying the uncertainty in future coastal flood risk estimates for the UK. Journal of Coastal Research, 27 (5). 870-881.10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00147.1
Flowerdew, Jonathan; Horsburgh, Kevin; Wilson, Chris; Mylne, Ken. 2010 Development and evaluation of an ensemble forecasting system for coastal storm surges. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 136 (651), Part B. 1444-1456.10.1002/qj.648
Turner, J.F.; Iliffe, J.C.; Ziebart, M.K.; Wilson, C.; Horsburgh, K.J.. 2010 Interpolation of Tidal Levels in the Coastal Zone for the Creation of a Hydrographic Datum. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 27 (3). 605-613.10.1175/2009jtecho645.1
Flowerdew, Jonathan; Horsburgh, Kevin; Mylne, Ken. 2009 Ensemble forecasting of storm surges. Marine Geodesy, 32 (2). 91-99.10.1080/01490410902869151
Swail, Val R.; Etala, Paula; Dube, Shishir; Horsburgh, Kevin. 2009 Guest editorial. Natural Hazards, 51 (1). 1-2.10.1007/s11069-009-9422-z
Randon, N. J.; Lawry, J.; Horsburgh, K. J.; Cluckie, I. D.. 2008 Fuzzy Bayesian modeling of sea-level along the east coast of Britain. IEEE Transaction on Fuzzy Systems, 16 (3). 725-738.10.1109/TFUZZ.2008.919278
Horsburgh, K. J.; Williams, J. A.; Flowerdew, J.; Mylne, K.. 2008 Aspects of operational forecast model skill during an extreme storm surge event. Journal of Flood Risk Management, 1 (4). 213-221.10.1111/j.1753-318X.2008.00020.x
Horsburgh, K. J.; Wilson, C.; Baptie, B.J.; Cooper, A.; Cresswell, D.; Musson, R.M.W.; Ottemöller, L.; Richardson, S.; Sargeant, S.L.. 2008 Impact of a Lisbon-type tsunami on the U.K. coastline and the implications for tsunami propagation over broad continental shelves. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113 (C4). C04007.10.1029/2007JC004425
Hill, A.E.; Brown, J.; Fernand, L.; Holt, J.T.; Horsburgh, K.J.; Proctor, R.; Raine, R.; Turrell, W.R.. 2008 Thermohaline circulation of shallow tidal seas. Geophysical Research Letters, 35 (11), L11605. 10.1029/2008GL033459
Horsburgh, Kevin. 2007 Ye olde tsunami. New Scientist, 194 (2602). p. 4.
O'Dea, E.J.; Hyder, P.; Siddorn, I.; Horsburgh, K. J.; Osbourne, J. P.; Holt, M. W.. 2007 Systematic error analysis of a high resolution relocatable system for operational hydrodynamic coastal forecasting. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 9, EGU2007-A-07467. p219.
Horsburgh, K. J.; Wilson, C.. 2007 Tide-surge interaction and its role in the distribution of surge residuals in the North Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research, 112 (C8). Art. No. C08003.10.1029/2006JC004033
Kobayashi, Shiho; Simpson, John H.; Fujiwara, Tateki; Horsburgh, Kevin J.. 2006 Tidal stirring and its impact on water column stability and property distributions in a semi-enclosed shelf sea (Seto Inland Sea, Japan). Continental Shelf Research, 26 (11). 1295-1306.10.1016/j.csr.2006.04.006
Horsburgh, Kevin J.; Hill, A. Edward. 2003 A Three-Dimensional Model of Density-Driven Circulation in the Irish Sea. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 33 (2). 343-365.10.1175/1520-0485(2003)033<0343:ATDMOD>2.0.CO;2

Book section

Horsburgh, Kevin; Lowe, Jason. 2013 Impacts of climate change on sea level. In: Baxter, J.M.; Buckley, P.J.; Wallace, C.J., (eds.)Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Science Review 2013. Lowestoft, UK, MCCIP Secretariat, 7pp.
Woodworth, P. L.; Horsburgh, K. J.. 2011 Surge models as providers of improved "Inverse Barometer Corrections" for coastal altimetry users. In: Vignudelli, S.; Kostianoy, A. G.; Cipollini, P.; Benveniste, J., (eds.)Coastal Altimetry. Berlin, Springer-Verlag, 177-189, 578pp.
Lowe, Jason A.; Woodworth, Philip L.; Knutson, Tom; McDonald, Ruth E.; McInnes, Kathleen L.; Woth, Katja; Von Storch, Hans; Wolf, Judith; Swail, Val; Bernier, Natacha; Gulev, Sergey; Horsburgh, Kevin J.; Unnikrishnan, Alakkat S.; Hunter, John R.; Weisse, Ralf. 2010 Past and future changes in extreme sea levels and waves. In: Church, John A.; Woodworth, Philip L.; Aarup, Thorkild; Wilson, W. Stanley, (eds.)Understanding sea-level rise and variability. London, Blackwell, 326-361.
Swail, V.; Lee, B.; Soares, A.; Resio, D.; Horsburgh, K.; Murty, T.; Dube, S.; Entel, M.; Flowerdew, J.. 2010 Storm surge. In: Hall, J.; Harrison, D.E.; Stammer, D., (eds.)Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society, Vol. 2. Noordwijk, The Netherlands, European Space Agency, 1009-1020. (ESA Special Publication, WPP-306).
Pullen, T.; Tozer, N.; Sayers, P.; Hawkes, P.; Saulter, A.; Flowerdew, J.; Horsburgh, K.. 2009 Use of field measurements to improve probabilistic wave overtopping forecasts. In: McKee Smith, Jane, (ed.)Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Coastal Engineering 2008. Singapore, World Scientific Publ Co Pte Ltd, 3020-3021.
Scott, T.R.; Smith, P.J.; Dance, S.L.; Mason, D.C.; Baines, M.J.; Nichols, N.K.; Horsburgh, K.J.; Sweby, P.J.; Lawless, A.S.. 2009 Data assimilation for morphodynamic prediction and predictability. In: McKee Smith, Jane, (ed.)Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Coastal Engineering 2008. Singapore, World Scientific Publ Co Pte Ltd, 2386-2398.

Conference item

Richardson, Stephen; Musson, Roger; Horsburgh, Kevin. 2007 Tsunami - assessing the hazard for the UK and Irish coast. In: Proceedings of the 41st Defra Flood and Coastal Management conference 2006, 4th July to 6th July 2006, University of York, London. London, Defra, 10.1.1-10.1.11.