Ensemble Prediction of Inundation Risk and Uncertainty arising from Scour (EPIRUS)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Civil Engineering


Sea level rise is now acknowledged as a real threat to our coastal towns and cities. In addition, global climate changes may lead to increasing frequency and severity of storms. As a result the value of the UK's assets at risk from flooding by the sea have significantly increased. The current UK coastal flood defences, which have typically been designed to withstand storm events with a return period of 50-100 years, may now be inadequate to protect the coastal areas under threat. To improve the design of future coastal defences requires a better understanding of the linkages between atmosphere, ocean and seabed; as well as improved quantification of the inherent uncertainties in the predictions. This joint research proposal between the Universities of Plymouth, Bristol and Liverpool, aims to develop a robust and integrated 'Cloud-to-Coast' modelling framework which will include the complex interactions between atmosphere, ocean and coastal flood and erosion, so that the flood risk in the coastal areas from the extreme events, such as severe storms, can be accurately predicted and assessed. The project will use various existing proven computer programmes together with necessary further developments to provide information on meteorological conditions under severe storms, the associated surge and wave conditions, as well as detailed transformation of wind and waves from the offshore to areas close to shoreline in order to predict coastal flood and erosion due to wave overtopping and scour. The main work of the project includes: 1) integration of the large-scale high-resolution weather models for predicting the atmospheric pressure and wind field, the regional and local scale process models for wave transformation from offshore to nearshore, and the local coastal models for predicting wave overtopping and scour near the coastal defence structures; 2) validation of the integrated modelling system with extensive field datasets; and 3) application of the modelling system to investigate uncertainties by creating ensembles of possible future storm events. The major output of the project will be a well-developed and validated modelling system which can be used as a useful tool for coastal engineers and coastal zone managers to assess the possible flood risk in coastal areas.


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