The 2013 Xaver storm surge and the resilient response of the North Sea defence system

Iacopo Carnacina, Joao Lima Rego, Martin Verlaan, Firmijn Zijl, Theo Van der Kaaij

Friday 3 july 2015

12:00 - 12:15h at Oceania Foyer (level 0)

Themes: (T) Flood risk management and adaptation, (ST) Flooding along in rivers and coasts

Parallel session: 15L. Flood risk - Flooding

In December 2013 the North Sea experienced one of the major storm surges of the last 100 years, and in some places high waters were higher than for the great 1953 North Sea flood. This makes Xaver an excellent case-study for the validation of the new continental shelf model presented here, which covers a domain form 42S to 63 N and from -15W to 13E. The preliminary results show the adaptation of a previous continental shelf model using a new technology based on flexible mesh. Both tidal propagation and storm surge were calibrated through an automated calibration that accounts for the combination of dozens of roughness and other parameters, which will be used as a base for a new generation of catastrophe models. The new model was validated using data for the recent 5 December 2013 storm. These preliminary results show how the new flexible mesh technology can be adopted for use in such large domains, with the advantage of being able to provide higher resolution depth and surge fields near the coast. Finally, results also showed how flood defenses have been more efficient, providing an excellent example of how risk management policy succeeded in improving the resilience in terms of flood defense, though potential risk for more catastrophic scenarios should not be neglected.