Articles | Volume 13, issue 4
Research article
30 Apr 2013
Research article |  | 30 Apr 2013

High resolution climate projection of storm surge at the Venetian coast

R. Mel, A. Sterl, and P. Lionello

Abstract. Climate change impact on storm surge regime is of great importance for the safety and maintenance of Venice. In this study a future storm surge scenario is evaluated using new high resolution sea level pressure and wind data recently produced by EC-Earth, an Earth System Model based on the operational seasonal forecast system of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The study considers an ensemble of six 5 yr long simulations of the rcp45 scenario at 0.25° resolution and compares the 2094–2098 to the 2004–2008 period. EC-Earth sea level pressure and surface wind fields are used as input for a shallow water hydrodynamic model (HYPSE) which computes sea level and barotropic currents in the Adriatic Sea. Results show that a high resolution climate model is needed for producing realistic values of storm surge statistics and confirm previous studies in that they show little sensitivity of storm surge levels to climate change. However, some climate change signals are detected, such as increased persistence of high pressure conditions, an increased frequency of windless hour, and a decreased number of moderate windstorms.