Ocean Wise News

Storm surges hit our West coast this week

It’s not your imagination….our weather is getting more intense and more erractic with high highs and low lows. Scientists are detecting a stronger link between the planet’s warming and its changing weather patterns. It is hard to confirm exactly whether climate change intensifies any particular weather event but the trajectory has been proven — we will get hotter heat waves, drier droughts, bigger storm surges and greater snowfall.

This week we have seen some stormy weather in the UK. With our environmental data platform Port-Log we are lucky to have access to live and historical environmental data from numerous marine and land locations all over the UK. We have been tracking the changing pressure, tides and wind and noted some storm surges on the West coast this week which coincided with 1m tidal cut on the East Coast.


above image: snippet from OceanWise data platform Port-log showing a tidal cut (indicated by the blue arrow) and a few days later a tidal surge (indicated by the red arrow) on the East coast of UK during w/c 8th March 2021

We are often asked about tidal surges…what are they? Here’s our MD Dr Mike Osborne’s expert explanation:

Storm surge, as it is known, is caused by a combination of the inverse barometer effect (i.e. sea level rises where there is low pressure and drops where there is high pressure) and wind stress that pushes the water in the direction of the wind (or thereabouts) which then piles up in a leeward basin or on a leeward shore. In enclosed sea areas, bays, harbours etc. resonance also occurs as the water ‘slops’ back and forth. This is known as seiching and the frequency of the ‘slop’ depends on the size, shape and depth of the enclosed area.

For more details on our environmental monitoring system please click here.

Back to News