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The temporal clustering of storm surge, wave height, and high sea level exceedances around the UK coastline

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
  • Luke J. Jenkins
  • Ivan D. Haigh
  • Paula Camus
  • Douglas Pender
  • Jenny Sansom
  • Rob Lamb
  • Hachem Kassem
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Natural Hazards
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date1/10/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


AbstractThe temporal clustering of storms presents consecutive storm surge and wave hazards that can lead to amplified flood and erosional damages; thus, clustering is important for coastal stakeholders to consider. We analyse the prevalence of storm clustering around the UK coastline by examining the temporal and spatial characteristics of storm surge, wave height, and high still sea level exceedances at the 1 in 1- and 5-year return levels. First, at the interannual timescale, we show that there are periods of high/low exceedance counts on national and regional scales. Elevated annual counts of exceedances with smaller magnitudes can occur without a respective signal of higher-magnitude exceedances. Secondly, at the intra-annual timescale, we show that high proportions of exceedances are clustering over short timescales. Storm surge, wave height and still sea level exceedances occurring < 50 days after the prior exceedance at a given site account for between ~ 35–44% and ~ 15–22% of all exceedances at the 1 in 1- and 5-year return levels, respectively. Still sea levels have the highest proportion of exceedances clustered in quick succession, with ~ 25% of 1 in 1-year exceedances occurring < 2 days after the previous at the same site. Spatially, for UK storm surges and still sea levels, the North Sea has the lowest proportion of clustering, whereas the North Atlantic and Bristol Channel have the highest. For English wave records, the highest proportions of clustering are found in the North Sea for exceedances of a lower magnitude and the English Channel for exceedances of a higher magnitude. These findings illuminate the prevalence of the clustering of coastal hazards around the UK—helping coastal stakeholders evaluate the threat of surges, waves, and sea levels clustering over short periods.