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High-frequency sea level variations and implications for coastal flooding: A case study of the Solent, UK

High-frequency sea level variations and implications for coastal flooding: A case study of the Solent, UK
High-frequency sea level variations and implications for coastal flooding: A case study of the Solent, UK
This study examines the occurrence and characteristics of high-frequency (<6 h) sea level variations in the Solent, UK – a mesotidal estuarine strait located in the central English Channel. A 14-year time series (2000–2013) of sea level observations sampled at 15-min intervals from the Southampton tide gauge was analyzed. The 8 highest-energy events have a mean amplitude of approximately 0.6 m and a dominant period of around 4 h. These events correspond with periods of enhanced meteorological activity, namely a marked reduction in air pressure and onset of strong southwesterly-southeasterly winds. Sea level observations from tide gauges around the Solent and the wider English Channel region (23 in total) were used to assess the spatial characteristics of these events. Analysis of time series and phase information indicates the occurrence of standing waves oscillating across the English Channel between southern England and northern France. This study provides a unique example of standing waves generated by extra-tropical cyclones over a large basin (the English Channel) with implications for flood inundation. The event of 28th October 2013 – the highest-amplitude (1.16 m) event in the record – was associated with minor coastal flooding at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. This flood occurred during a neap tide, when such events are widely thought to be impossible. Hence, our findings emphasize the relevance of high-frequency sea level variability for regional sea level forecasting and flood risk management.
Sea level variability, Coastal floods, Seiches, Meteorological tsunamis, English channel, UK
0278-4343
1-13
Ozsoy, Ozgun
91cd99b2-5e4a-4e95-b655-94b639d35b3b
Haigh, Ivan D.
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Wadey, Matthew P.
e712b840-f36b-41aa-ae28-d4d81de31831
Nicholls, Robert J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Wells, Neil C.
4c27167c-f972-4822-9614-d6ca8d8223b5
Ozsoy, Ozgun
91cd99b2-5e4a-4e95-b655-94b639d35b3b
Haigh, Ivan D.
945ff20a-589c-47b7-b06f-61804367eb2d
Wadey, Matthew P.
e712b840-f36b-41aa-ae28-d4d81de31831
Nicholls, Robert J.
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076
Wells, Neil C.
4c27167c-f972-4822-9614-d6ca8d8223b5

Ozsoy, Ozgun, Haigh, Ivan D., Wadey, Matthew P., Nicholls, Robert J. and Wells, Neil C. (2016) High-frequency sea level variations and implications for coastal flooding: A case study of the Solent, UK. Continental Shelf Research, 122, 1-13. (doi:10.1016/j.csr.2016.03.021).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This study examines the occurrence and characteristics of high-frequency (<6 h) sea level variations in the Solent, UK – a mesotidal estuarine strait located in the central English Channel. A 14-year time series (2000–2013) of sea level observations sampled at 15-min intervals from the Southampton tide gauge was analyzed. The 8 highest-energy events have a mean amplitude of approximately 0.6 m and a dominant period of around 4 h. These events correspond with periods of enhanced meteorological activity, namely a marked reduction in air pressure and onset of strong southwesterly-southeasterly winds. Sea level observations from tide gauges around the Solent and the wider English Channel region (23 in total) were used to assess the spatial characteristics of these events. Analysis of time series and phase information indicates the occurrence of standing waves oscillating across the English Channel between southern England and northern France. This study provides a unique example of standing waves generated by extra-tropical cyclones over a large basin (the English Channel) with implications for flood inundation. The event of 28th October 2013 – the highest-amplitude (1.16 m) event in the record – was associated with minor coastal flooding at Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. This flood occurred during a neap tide, when such events are widely thought to be impossible. Hence, our findings emphasize the relevance of high-frequency sea level variability for regional sea level forecasting and flood risk management.

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Accepted/In Press date: 21 March 2016
Published date: 1 July 2016
Keywords: Sea level variability, Coastal floods, Seiches, Meteorological tsunamis, English channel, UK
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Physical Oceanography, Energy & Climate Change Group, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 397027
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/397027
ISSN: 0278-4343
PURE UUID: f3228bb1-3a02-4333-8f21-5c2592bb2273
ORCID for Robert J. Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 Jun 2016 10:52
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:02

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