Gabriele Goennert, Birgit Gerkensmeier


The North Sea coast is seriously threatened by storm surges. Climate change and its consequences, such as a rising sea level, will have serious effects on the safety of people and economic assets in coastal areas. Within the joint research project XtremRisK (bmbf-funded) the Agency of roads bridges and Waters of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg developed a new method to calculate extreme storm surge events. The purpose of the research work, to calculated physically feasible extreme events is given consideration by detailed analyses of the single storm-surge components (tide, external surge from the Atlantic and wind surge) and their non-linear interactions by combining deterministic-empirical, statistical and numerical methods. The non-linear interactions can be comprised by hydrodynamic equations such as equation of momentum, continuity equation and volume balance. The claim to develop a comprehensive and physically feasible method is satisfied by the diversity of methodical approaches for analyzing the storm surge components and their interaction processes. Therefore a 2-method concept is developed on the basis of empirical and numerical approaches. The resultant new method is a new way of calculating extreme storm surges and can be used within new design concepts to calculate design level heights or could be a part of risk analysis


extreme events; storm surge components; non-linear interaction

Full Text:



Bruss, G., G. Gönnert and R. Mayerle. 2010. Extreme scenarios for flood protection at the North Sea, A numerical study, Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Coastal Engineering (ICCE) Shanghai.

Dibbern, S. and S. Müller-Navarra. 2009. Wasserstände bei Sturmfluten entlang der nordfriesischen Küste mit den Inseln und Halligen, Die Küste, 76, 205-224.

Dick, S. 2000. Die Sturmflut am 3. Dezember 1999 – Fallstudien mit dem Windstaumodell des BSH, Presentation at the workshop on storm surges organized by the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute, Hamburg, Germany, 16.11.2000, Head of the Directorate Forecasting, Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, 2000. Contact for questions: stephan.dick@bsh.de.

Dick, S., E. Kleine, S. Müller-Navarra, H. Klein and H. Komo. 2001. The Operational Model of BSH (BSHcmod) – Model description and validation, Berichte des Bundesamtes für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie, 29.

Gönnert G. 2003. Sturmfluten und Windstau in der Deutschen Bucht. Charakter, Veränderungen und Maximalwerte im 20. Jahrhundert, Die Küste 67, 185-365.

Gönnert G., S.K. Dube, T. Murty T. and W. Siefert. 2001. Global Storm Surges, Die Küste 63, Hamburg.

Gönnert G., J. Jensen, H. von Storch, S. Thumm, Th. Wahl and R. Weisse. 2010. Der Meeresspiegelanstieg - Ursachen, Tendenzen und Risikobewertung, Die Küste 76, 225-256.

Horsburgh, K.J. and C. Wilson. 2007. Tide-surge interaction and its role in the distribution of surge residuals in the North Sea, Journal of Geophysical Research 112 (C8), Art. No. C08003. 1. 1029/2006JC004033.

IPCC: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Solomon, S.; Qin, D.; Manning, M.; Chen, Z.; Marquis, M.; Averyt, K.B.; Tignor M.; Miller, H.L. (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 2007.

Jensen, J., C. Mudersbach, I. Bork, S. Müller-Navarra, C. Koziar and V. Renner. 2005. Modellgestützte Untersuchungen zu Sturmfluten mit sehr geringen Eintrittswahrscheinlichkeiten (MUSE) – Abschlussbericht zum BMBF Forschungsvorhaben 03KISO039 (KFKI Fördernummer 2., Universität Siegen, Siegen.

Jones, J.E. and A.M. Davies. 2007. Influence of non-linear effects upon surge elevations along the west coast of Britain, Ocean Dynamics, 57, 401-416.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10236-007-0119-0

Katsman C.A., A. Sterl, J.J. Beersma, H.W. van den Brink, J.A. Church, W. Hazeleger, R.E. Kopp, D.

Kroon, J. Kwadijk, R. Lammersen, J. Lowe, M. Oppenheimer, H.P Plag, J. Ridley, H. von Storch, D.G Vaughan, P. Vellinga, L.L.A. Vermerrsen, R.S.W. van de Wal and R. Weisse. 2011. Exploring high end scenarios for local sea level rise to develop flood protection strategies for a low lying delta – the Netherlands as an example, Climatic Change (published online).

Keers, J.F. 1968. An empirical investigation of interaction between storm surge and astronomical tide on the east coast of Great Britain, Ocean Dynamics, 21(3), 118-125.

Laucht, H. 1968. Über hohe Sturmfluten und ihre Häufigkeit in Hamburg, Schriftenreihe der Behörde für Wirtschaft und Verkehr der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, 4.

Lesser, G., J. Roelvink, J. van Kester and G. Stelling. 2004. Development and validation of a threedimensional morphological model, Coastal Engineering, 51(8-9), 883–915.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coastaleng.2004.07.014

Mayerle, R., J. Wilkens, C. Escobar and W. Windupranata. 2005. Hydrodynamic Forcing Along the Open Sea Boundaries of Small-Scale Coastal Models, Die Küste, 69, 203-228.

Schmitz, H.P. and D. Habicht. 1988. Barotropic numerical experiments on external surge generation at the edge of the north-western European shelf, Gerlands Beiträge zur Geophysik, 97/5, 422-437.

Siefert, W.: Bemessungswasserstände 2085 A entlang der Elbe. Ergebnisse einer Überprüfung durch die Länderarbeitsgruppe nach 10 Jahren (1995/96), Die Küste, 60, 227-255, 1998.

Siefert, W. and K. Havnø. 1989. Sturmflutuntersuchungen für die Elbe mit den mathematischhydraulischen Modellen des Dänischen Hydraulischen Institutes, Hamburger Küstenforschung, 46.

Small, C. and R.J. Nicholls. 2003. A global analysis of human settlement in coastal zones, Journal of Coastal Research, 19, 584-599.

Tang Y.M., R. Grimshaw, B. Sanderson and G. Holland. 1996. A Numerical Study of Storm Surges and Tides, with Application to the North Queensland Coast, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 26, 2700-2711.http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1520-0485(1996)026<2700:ANSOSS>2.0.CO;2

Verboom, G., J. Ronde and R. Dijk. 1992. A fine grid tidal flow and storm surge model of the North Sea, Continental Shelf Research, 12 (2/3), 213-233.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0278-4343(92)90030-N

DOI: https://doi.org/10.9753/icce.v33.management.2