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Probabilistic reanalysis of storm surge extremes in Europe

Probabilistic reanalysis of storm surge extremes in Europe
Probabilistic reanalysis of storm surge extremes in Europe
Extreme sea levels are a significant threat to life, property, and the environment. These threats are managed by coastal planers through the implementation of risk mitigation strategies. Central to such strategies is knowledge of extreme event probabilities. Typically, these probabilities are estimated by fitting a suitable distribution to the observed extreme data. Estimates, however, are often uncertain due to the small number of extreme events in the tide gauge record and are only available at gauged locations. This restricts our ability to implement cost-effective mitigation. A remarkable fact about sea-level extremes is the existence of spatial dependences, yet the vast majority of studies to date have analyzed extremes on a site-by-site basis. Here we demonstrate that spatial dependences can be exploited to address the limitations posed by the spatiotemporal sparseness of the observational record. We achieve this by pooling all of the tide gauge data together through a Bayesian hierarchical model that describes how the distribution of surge extremes varies in time and space. Our approach has two highly desirable advantages: 1) it enables sharing of information across data sites, with a consequent drastic reduction in estimation uncertainty; 2) it permits interpolation of both the extreme values and the extreme distribution parameters at any arbitrary ungauged location. Using our model, we produce an observation-based probabilistic reanalysis of surge extremes covering the entire Atlantic and North Sea coasts of Europe for the period 1960–2013.
Bayesian hierarchical model, Extremes, Flooding, Sea level, Storm surge
0027-8424
1877-1883
Calafat, Francisco M.
f97617bd-0238-48e6-b693-7d409ac30c47
Marcos, Marta
e9449b6f-834c-4239-8bb7-b611a0062412
Calafat, Francisco M.
f97617bd-0238-48e6-b693-7d409ac30c47
Marcos, Marta
e9449b6f-834c-4239-8bb7-b611a0062412

Calafat, Francisco M. and Marcos, Marta (2020) Probabilistic reanalysis of storm surge extremes in Europe. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117 (4), 1877-1883. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1913049117).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Extreme sea levels are a significant threat to life, property, and the environment. These threats are managed by coastal planers through the implementation of risk mitigation strategies. Central to such strategies is knowledge of extreme event probabilities. Typically, these probabilities are estimated by fitting a suitable distribution to the observed extreme data. Estimates, however, are often uncertain due to the small number of extreme events in the tide gauge record and are only available at gauged locations. This restricts our ability to implement cost-effective mitigation. A remarkable fact about sea-level extremes is the existence of spatial dependences, yet the vast majority of studies to date have analyzed extremes on a site-by-site basis. Here we demonstrate that spatial dependences can be exploited to address the limitations posed by the spatiotemporal sparseness of the observational record. We achieve this by pooling all of the tide gauge data together through a Bayesian hierarchical model that describes how the distribution of surge extremes varies in time and space. Our approach has two highly desirable advantages: 1) it enables sharing of information across data sites, with a consequent drastic reduction in estimation uncertainty; 2) it permits interpolation of both the extreme values and the extreme distribution parameters at any arbitrary ungauged location. Using our model, we produce an observation-based probabilistic reanalysis of surge extremes covering the entire Atlantic and North Sea coasts of Europe for the period 1960–2013.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 December 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 28 January 2020
Published date: 28 January 2020
Keywords: Bayesian hierarchical model, Extremes, Flooding, Sea level, Storm surge

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437875
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437875
ISSN: 0027-8424
PURE UUID: dd915e7c-a717-444b-bfc6-6d6a2fd287eb

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Feb 2020 17:31
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 11:30

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Contributors

Author: Francisco M. Calafat
Author: Marta Marcos

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