While the marine environment represents a substantial resource for growing coastal communities around the world it also can represent a substantial hazard to the life and livelihood of these communities. An important marine hazard arises from storms and their consequent surges. Surges are large scale increases in sea level resulting from a combination low atmospheric pressure and high winds. They lead to coastal flooding, coastal erosion and salt intrusion. In turn this results in loss of life, destruction of property and degradation of agricultural land. They are a global hazard that particularly impacts low lying coastal communities. In many places these are the poorest and most vulnerable communities. The provision of accurate and timely sea level forecasts can be of substantial benefit to avoiding and mitigating this hazard, by giving advanced warning to the communities and emergency services, in a similar way that weather forecasts provide warning of extreme rain or wind conditions.
In this project we aim to provide a cost effective storm surge forecasts system that can be readily deployed for any coastal region of the world. We build on numerical ocean modelling capability developed in several of NERC project over the last decade. We will develop the software capability to transfer the modelling approaches in these NERC projects to any sea region in the world and run as a storm surge forecast model, with simplified physics. These will be tested in NW European shelf seas and our demonstrator region in the Western Indian Ocean around Madagascar.