The GOS-GLOBAL project will allow IHCantabria to develop a coastal sea level database with worldwide coverage

by | 22 Dec, 2023 | General News, Marine Climate and Climate Change, Oceanography, Estuaries and Water Quality, PCM, Projects, Recovery, Transformation and Resiliency Plan | 0 comments

The results of this project will contribute to improve the assessment of coastal impacts and risks, as well as to study the implications of climate change on sea level.

With the Global Ocean Surge (GOS-GLOBAL) project, the Institute of Environmental Hydraulics of Cantabria (IHCantabria) is promoting the development of a historical sea level database, oriented to the meteorological tidal component, with worldwide coverage and high spatial resolution along the coast. This project is being developed within the framework of the Marine Science Program of IHCantabria, from September 2022 to the end of August 2025.

The meteorological tide, called storm surge, refers to the hour-long variations in the rise and fall of the sea level due to weather conditions over the sea surface. The meteorological tide can reach magnitudes greater than one meter of sea level rise due to an intense storm. A low atmospheric pressure situation (squall) accompanied by strong sea winds blowing landward cause these sea level rises.

The GOS-GLOBAL project aims to address a critical issue related to sea levels and their influence on coastal events such as flooding and erosion. Despite previous efforts to obtain homogeneous time series covering several decades, the high computational cost and complexity of this process have limited the availability of global sea level data with high spatial resolution. Most studies have focused on specific areas, such as certain coastal regions of Europe (the Mediterranean Sea or the North Sea) or regions affected by tropical cyclones (hurricanes), such as the Gulf of Mexico.

For its execution, this project is based on technological advances and will be supported by numerical simulation techniques using global and regional hydrodynamic models, as well as approaches that use automatic learning techniques (a branch of artificial intelligence) to optimize computational resources. The project is led by the researchers Ana J. Abascal Santillana -from the Oceanography, Estuaries and Water Quality Group- and Melisa Menéndez García, head of the Marine Climate and Climate Change Group of IHCantabria.

GOS-GLOBAL seeks to obtain a historical sea level database, for at least 30 years -from 1990 to the present-, with an hourly temporal resolution and a high spatial resolution along the coast. In addition, the generation of derived climate indicators is foreseen, which will be fundamental in engineering studies and risk analysis.

One of the objectives of this project is to analyze the influence of key factors in the global modeling of the meteorological component of sea level (such as atmospheric forcing, interaction with the astronomical tide, ice cover and other relevant processes). Another objective is to improve the modeling of extreme events associated with low pressure systems, such as tropical cyclones and extra-tropical systems.

GOS-GLOBAL also aims to refine coastal sea level modeling by incorporating coastal processes (such as river flow, precipitation and baroclinic flows) and using hybrid modeling techniques to increase coastal resolution at lower computational cost. Another of its objectives is to analyze the sensitivity of extreme meteorological tidal events to mean sea level rise, and its possible alteration in the face of future climate forecasts.

Its implementation will be carried out in several stages, including modeling on a regional scale in Europe, expansion of the model globally, simulation of extreme events associated with low pressure systems, increased resolution on the coast. In addition, a special effort will be made to evaluate the quality of the data generated. Data from existing tide gauges and multi-mission satellite sea level information are used to perform this validation.

Results and expected impact

The results of this project are based on the development of a historical meteorological tide database, with information on other sea level components. The GOS-GLOBAL database will be essential for scientific research, coastal management and decision making related to climate change and its effects on sea level.

From the scientific-technical point of view, GOS-GLOBAL will be able to contribute to improve coastal protection and the development of management and mitigation measures against sea level variations. It will also provide -to administrations, environmental managers and companies that require it- essential data for carrying out coastal risk analyses and studies that consider variations associated with climate change.