News

  • What changes the frequency of coastal flooding over time?

    What changes the frequency of coastal flooding over time?

    As I explained in the previous post, coastal floods are driven by extreme sea levels, which arise as combinations of four main factors: waves, astronomical tides, storm surges and relative mean sea level. Longer-term changes in any, or all of the four components can lead to variations in extreme sea levels. Changes in relative mean sea level (due to changes in sea level associated with…

  • What causes coastal flooding

    What causes coastal flooding

    Coastal floods are caused by extreme sea levels, which arise as combinations of four main factors: waves, astronomical tides, storm surges and relative mean sea level. The additional influence of river discharge may also be important in some estuaries. A storm surge is a short-lived large-scale rise in water level, driven by low atmospheric pressure and strong winds associated with a storm, and enhanced…

  • Historic Events before 1915

    Historic Events before 1915

    The UK has a long history of severe coastal flooding. Historic accounts suggest that large numbers (magnitudes up to 105) of people were drowned on the east coast during events in 1099, 1421 and 1446, although there is high uncertainty. In the last 500 years, major coastal flood events impacted the west coast in 1607, the west and south costs in 1703 and the…

  • New release: SurgeWatch Version 2

    New release: SurgeWatch Version 2

    We are pleased to release a beta of the second version of our coastal flooding database. In the first version of our data base, described here, we identified the dates and times of high water levels in tide gauge records and looked to see if there was evidence of coastal flooding at these times. This approach had two key limitations. First, key historical coastal flooding events…

  • The Floodstone Project: compiling a database of historic flood markers

    The Floodstone Project: compiling a database of historic flood markers

    Photo credit: Wells-next-the-Sea – Mark Bateman The risk posed by coastal flooding is often considered according to the relationship between the magnitude of flood events (best expressed as the elevation to which the water rises) and how often such events occur.  This relationship is termed a magnitude-frequency relationship (or recurrence interval) and is often expressed as a curve. These curves allow flood experts and coastal managers to determine the extent of…

  • "The sea is in, Sir" — Coastal Flooding on the East Coast of the UK on 12th February 1938

    by Shari L. Gallop On 12th February 1938, severe coastal flooding occurred on the UK east coast, and persisted for months afterwards. Winds of 80 mph (129 kph) blew across the English Channel, disrupting ship and air transport (The Argus, 1938). Norfolk was the worst affected area, with coastal flooding recorded at Horsey and Cromer. The high tide at Horsey was 10…

  • Storm Imogen hits parts of England and south Wales

    Storm Imogen hits parts of England and south Wales

    Parts of the UK are experiencing high winds and heavy rain as Storm Imogen moves in from over the North Atlantic this morning. The Environment Agency has issued nearly 60 flood warnings, many in South West England and southern Wales. There are reports of more than 5,500 homes without power in the South West and Gloucestershire owing to the…

  • Sea level return periods:  What are they and how do we use them in SurgeWatch?

    Sea level return periods: What are they and how do we use them in SurgeWatch?

    By Ivan Haigh Introduction The ‘100-year flood’ is a term many of us are used to hearing, and will be a phrase particularly familiar for those who live in flood prone areas. Using return periods like this is the standard way of describing the severity and likelihood of floods, as well as other events like hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and heat waves. Such terms…