Forecasting tropical cyclone surge for humanitarian relief

Grey, S. (2023) Forecasting tropical cyclone surge for humanitarian relief. In: 3rd International Workshop on Waves, Storm Surges, and Coastal Hazards, 1-6 October 2023, Notre Dame, Indiana.

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Tropical cyclones, with strong winds and low central pressure, can produce very large coastal surges and have led to the most devastating flooding in history. While forecasting of cyclones and emergency management have improved dramatically, flooding from cyclone surge still represents one of the most serious global natural hazards and present a considerable challenge for humanitarian organisations. A surge and inundation forecasting system has been developed for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in order to aid the coordination of humanitarian relief. The aim of the forecast is to provide advance warning of the location, extent and severity of flooding and impact on population. A surge forecast system was developed using the hydrodynamic model, TELEMAC-2D, forced by cyclonic wind and atmospheric pressure fields. A number of constraints and requirements needed to be met to develop a practical and reliable service, including: • A number of regional TELEMAC2D models were developed covering coastal areas around the globe at risk of flooding from cyclone surge and be of interest to the FCDO and humanitarian agencies; • The models must adequately resolve the wind and pressure fields of cyclones, coastal bathymetry and topography; • The models include tide as it is the combination of both tide and surge that determines the elevation of the water and hence the extent and severity of flooding; • Models must run quickly. The flood advisory bulletin is prepared within one working day and the target for the surge model runtime is less than one hour; • Probabilistic forecasts involving ensemble modelling have been trialled. The surge modelling system includes a number of regional TELEMAC-2D models covering areas of the world vulnerable to cyclone surge flooding and of interest to the FCDO. The regional models include tide and atmospheric forcing. Cyclone tracks are obtained from relevant meteorological agencies responsible for forecasting tropical cyclones. Within the modelling system, these are converted into wind and pressure fields to force the model. Model results are extracted along the coastline for input into an inundation model and population exposure analysis. The combined results showing areas forecast to be affected by flooding and the impact on the local population and infrastructure are summarised in a concise bulletin for the FCDO which is then circulated to local and international aid organisations including the UN OCHA and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Since the start of the pilot study in October 2020, the team have responded to tropical cyclones affecting Bangladesh, Central America, Mozambique, Madagascar and the Philippines.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Coasts > General
Divisions: Coastal
Depositing User: Helen Stevenson
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2023 14:32
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2023 14:53

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