Leigh MacPherson, Ivan David Haigh, Matthew Mason, Sarath Wijeratne, Charitha Pattiaratchi, Steve George


The potential impacts of extreme water level events on our coasts are increasing as populations grow and sea levels rise. To better prepare for the future, coastal engineers and managers need accurate estimates of average exceedance probabilities for extreme water levels. In this paper, we estimate present day probabilities of extreme water levels around the entire coastline of Australia. Tides and storm surges generated by extra-tropical storms were included by creating a 61-year (1949-2009) hindcast of water levels using a high resolution depth averaged hydrodynamic model driven with meteorological data from a global reanalysis. Tropical cyclone-induced surges were included through numerical modelling of a database of synthetic tropical cyclones equivalent to 10,000 years of cyclone activity around Australia. Predicted water level data was analysed using extreme value theory to construct return period curves for both the water level hindcast and synthetic tropical cyclone modelling. These return period curves were then combined by taking the highest water level at each return period.


water levels; storm surges; tropical cyclones; numerical modelling; average exceedance probabilities

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9753/icce.v33.currents.53