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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 12 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 3709-3718, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 Dec 2012

Research article | 19 Dec 2012

Tide-surge interaction in the English Channel

D. Idier1, F. Dumas2, and H. Muller1 D. Idier et al.
  • 1BRGM, 3 av. C. Guillemin, 45060 Orléans Cedex 02, France
  • 2IFREMER, Centre de Brest BP 70 – 29280 Plouzané, France

Abstract. The English Channel is characterised by strong tidal currents and a wide tidal range, such that their influence on surges is expected to be non-negligible. In order to better assess storm surges in this zone, tide-surge interactions are investigated. A preliminary data analysis on hourly surges indicates some preferential times of occurrence of large storm surges at rising tide, especially in Dunkerque. To examine this further, a numerical modelling approach is chosen, based on the 2DH shallow-water model (MARS). The surges are computed both with and without tide interaction. For the two selected events (the November 2007 North Sea and March 2008 Atlantic storms), it appears that the instantaneous tide-surge interaction is seen to be non-negligible in the eastern half of the English Channel, reaching values of 74 cm (i.e. 50% of the same event maximal storm surge) in the Dover Strait for the studied cases. This interaction decreases in westerly direction. In the risk-analysis community in France, extreme water levels have been determined assuming skew surges and tide as independent. The same hydrodynamic model is used to investigate this dependence in the English Channel. Simple computations are performed with the same meteorological forcing, while varying the tidal amplitude, and the skew surge differences DSS are analysed. Skew surges appear to be tide-dependent, with negligible values of DSS (<0.05 m) over a large portion of the English Channel, although reaching several tens of centimetres in some locations (e.g. the Isle of Wight and Dover Strait).

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