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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Earth Sci. | doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00224

Storm surge and extreme river discharge: a compound event analysis using ensemble impact modelling

 Sonu Khanal1, 2, 3*, Nina Ridder2, Hylke d. vries2, Wilco Terink1 and Bart v. Hurk2, 3
  • 1FutureWater, Netherlands
  • 2Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Netherlands
  • 3VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

Many winter deep low-pressure systems passing over Western Europe have the potential to induce significant storm surge levels along the coast of the North Sea. The accompanying frontal systems lead to large rainfall amounts, which can result in river discharges exceeding critical thresholds. The risk of disruptive societal impact increases strongly if river runoff and storm-surge peak occur near-simultaneously. For the Rhine catchment and the Dutch coastal area, existing studies suggest that no such relation is present at time lags shorter than six days. Here we re-investigate the possibility of finding near-simultaneous storm surge and extreme river discharge using an extended data set derived from a storm surge model (WAQUA/DCSMv5) and two hydrological river-discharge models (SPHY and HBV96) forced with conditions from a high-resolution (0.11°/12 km) regional climate model (RACMO2) in ensemble mode (16x50 years). We find that the probability for finding a co-occurrence of extreme river discharge at Lobith and storm surge conditions at Hoek van Holland are up to four times higher (than random chance) for a broad range of time lags (-2 to 10 days, depending on exact threshold). This highlights that the hazard of a co-occurrence of high river discharge and coastal water levels cannot be neglected in a robust risk assessment.

Keywords: Compound events, dependence, joint distribution, storm surge, uncertainty

Received: 18 Feb 2019; Accepted: 15 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Khanal, Ridder, vries, Terink and Hurk. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Sonu Khanal, FutureWater, Wageningen, Netherlands, s.khanal@futurewater.nl