Abstract's details

Investigating temporal variability in global storm surges using satellite altimetry

Inger Bij de Vaate (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands)


Cornelis Slobbe (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands); Martin Verlaan (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands)

Event: 2022 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Tides, internal tides and high-frequency processes

Presentation type: Type Poster

Climate change affects the frequency and intensity of storms worldwide (IPCC, 2021). Observation-based studies have shown that surge water levels become more extreme and that surges occur more frequently (e.g. Menéndez & Woodworth, 2010) and model simulations indicate that this will go on/accelerate in the future (e.g. Flather & Williams, 2000; Tebaldi et al., 2012). Studies on such high-frequency water level variability mainly rely on observations from tide gauges that are restricted to coastal and shelf regions. However, recent studies have shown that by careful processing of satellite altimetry data it is possible to capture most of the storm surge water level variability that is observed at tide gauges (e.g. Andersen et al., 2013; Antony et al., 2014; Madsen et al., 2015).

Therefore, in the presented study, the full length of satellite altimetry records (> 25 years) has been exploited to study temporal changes in surge water level variability. With doing so, insight is gained in the large-scale changes in surge water levels, alongside the primarily coastal changes that were observed at tide gauges. This could improve modelling of surge water levels at open sea and potentially improve forecasting of extreme water level events. By combining data from multiple missions, a maximum coverage of high-water level events is pursued. In addition, the combination of altimetry data processed by RADS (Scharroo et al., 2013) with coastal data from XTrack (Birol et al., 2021) ensures close to full coverage of the oceans. Moreover, the usage of coastal data from XTrack allows for comparison of surge water level variability derived from satellite altimetry and derived from tide gauges. This is used to define confidence levels of surge frequency and related water level estimates as derived from the satellite data.

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Antony, C., Testut, L., & Unnikrishnan, A. S. (2014). Observing storm surges in the Bay of Bengal from satellite altimetry. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 151, 131-140.
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Madsen, K. S., Høyer, J. L., Fu, W., & Donlon, C. (2015). Blending of satellite and tide gauge sea level observations and its assimilation in a storm surge model of the N orth S ea and B altic S ea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120(9), 6405-6418.
Menéndez, M., & Woodworth, P. L. (2010). Changes in extreme high water levels based on a quasi‐global tide‐gauge data set. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 115(C10).
Scharroo, R., Leuliette, E., Lillibridge, J., Byrne, D., Naeije, M., & Mitchum, G. (2013). RADS: Consistent multi-mission products. In 20 Years of Progress in Radar Altimetry (Vol. 710).
Tebaldi, C., Strauss, B. H., & Zervas, C. E. (2012). Modelling sea level rise impacts on storm surges along US coasts. Environmental Research Letters, 7(1), 014032.

Poster show times:

Room Start Date End Date
Mezzanine Tue, Nov 01 2022,17:15 Tue, Nov 01 2022,18:15
Mezzanine Thu, Nov 03 2022,14:00 Thu, Nov 03 2022,15:45
Inger Bij de Vaate
Delft University of Technology