A global reanalysis of storm surges and extreme sea levels

S. Muis, M. Verlaan, H.C. Winsemius, J.C.J.H. Aerts, P.J. Ward

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Extreme sea levels, caused by storm surges and high tides, can have devastating societal impacts. To effectively protect our coasts, global information on coastal flooding is needed. Here we present the first global reanalysis of storm surges and extreme sea levels (GTSR data set) based on hydrodynamic modelling. GTSR covers the entire world's coastline and consists of time series of tides and surges, and estimates of extreme sea levels. Validation shows that there is good agreement between modelled and observed sea levels, and that the performance of GTSR is similar to that of many regional hydrodynamic models. Due to the limited resolution of the meteorological forcing, extremes are slightly underestimated. This particularly affects tropical cyclones, which requires further research. We foresee applications in assessing flood risk and impacts of climate change. As a first application of GTSR, we estimate that 1.3% of the global population is exposed to a 1 in 100-year flood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11969
Number of pages11
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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