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SCOPAC Storm Analysis Study

Dr Matthew Wadey, BCP Council, Dr Ivan Haigh, University of Southampton and Emily Last, Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership : £25,000 (2018-2020)

Coastal floods are a major global hazard leading to long-lasting and wide-ranging social, economic and environmental consequences. With sea-level rise accelerating, and possible changes in storminess, high sea levels will occur more frequently in the future.

The UK has a long history of severe coastal flooding, and at present 2.5 million properties and £150 billion of assets are potentially exposed to coastal flooding. More than 24,000 properties across the SCOPAC are currently exposed to a 1 in 200-year coastal flood. More than half of this exposure is in Portsmouth, which after London and Hull contains the most properties exposed to coastal flooding for any city in the UK. Some of the largest increases in flood risk in England and Wales are predicted to occur along the SCOPAC coastline over the 21st century. Over the next decade more than £150 million will be spent on upgrading flood defences in Portsmouth alone.


In response to recent extreme events and stormy winters (e.g. 2013/14 and 2015/16), ESCP are leading on an analysis across the SCOPAC region, which compares extreme events and winters using sea level and wave data sets. The aim is to put recent events into context with longer data sets, and provide easily accessible and understandable scientific information that can be used to infer causes of coastal flooding and/or erosion. The data sets being utilised are mainly from the Regional Monitoring Programme / Channel Coastal Observatory (CCO) and the National Tide and Sea Level Facility (NTSLF) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: CCO wave buoys and NTSLF tide gauges

The data is currently being compiled so it can be ready for analysis, with pilot studies carried out for the East Solent (CCO’s Hayling Wave Buoy and the NTSLF Portsmouth tide gauge). Preliminary analysis will also focus on the Dorset coast (CCO’s Chesil Wave Buoy and the NTSLF Weymouth tide gauge). Figures will be produced that summarise the findings for these sites, and these will be presented at a future SCOPAC Research Sub Group (RSG) meeting. Following feedback from the SCOPAC Research sub-group, the analysis will be rolled out across the region, resulting in an infographic with key messages and statistics, a final summary report (with data presented in figures and tables for each tide gauge and wave recorder), and database.

Project outputs and deliverables
  • A technical report will be completed describing the main method and findings;
  • The key findings will be distilled into a short visual report with infographics;
  • A presentation will be given to SCOPAC on the outcomes of the project.