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Storm surge computations for the west coast of Britain using a finite element model (TELEMAC)
Jones, J.E.; Davies, A.M. (2008). Storm surge computations for the west coast of Britain using a finite element model (TELEMAC). Ocean Dynamics 58(5-6): 337-363.
In: Ocean Dynamics. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 1616-7341, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Far fields; Meteorological forcing; Nearshore; Spatial variations; Temporal variations; Unstructured grids (mathematics); ANE, British Isles [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    Storm surge; Finite element model; UK West coast

Authors  Top 
  • Jones, J.E.
  • Davies, A.M.

    An unstructured mesh finite element model of the sea region off the west coast of Britain is used to examine the storm surge event of November 1977. This period is chosen because accurate meteorological data to drive the model and coastal observations for validation purposes are available. In addition, previous published results from a coarse-grid (resolution 7 km) finite difference model of the region and high-resolution (1 km) limited area (namely eastern Irish Sea) model are available for comparison purposes. To enable a "like with like" comparison to be made, the finite element model covers the same domain and has the same meteorological forcing as these earlier finite difference models. In addition, the mesh is based on an identical set of water depths. Calculations show that the finite element model can reproduce both the "external" and "internal" components of the surge in the region. This shows that the "far field" (external) component of the surge can accurately propagate through the irregular mesh, and the model responds accurately, without over- or under-damping, to local wind forcing. Calculations show significant temporal and spatial variability in the surge in close agreement with that found in earlier finite difference calculations. In addition, root mean square errors between computed and observed surge are comparable to those found in previous finite different calculations. The ability to vary the mesh in nearshore regions reveals appreciable small-scale variability that was not found in the previous finite difference solutions. However, the requirement to perform a "like with like" comparison using the same water depths means that the full potential of the unstructured grid model to improve resolution in the nearshore region is inhibited. This is clearly evident in the Mersey estuary region where a higher resolution unstructured mesh model, forced with uniform winds, had shown high topographic variability due to small-scale variations in topography that are not resolved here. Despite the lack of high resolution in the nearshore region, the model showed results that were consistent with the previous storm surge models of the region. Calculations suggest that to improve on these earlier results, a finer nearshore mesh is required based upon accurate nearshore topography.

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