22 Nov 2021
22 Nov 2021
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Reconstruction of wind and surge of the 1906 storm tide at the German North Sea Coast

Elke M. I. Meyer1, Ralf Weisse1, Iris Grabemann1, Birger Tinz2, and Robert Scholz2,3 Elke M. I. Meyer et al.
  • 1Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Institute of Coastal Systems, Geesthacht, 21502, Germany
  • 2Deutscher Wetterdienst, Hamburg, 20359, Germany
  • 3Deutscher Wetterdienst, Leipzig, 04288, Germany

Abstract. Storm tides represent a major threat to the low-lying German North Sea coast. Knowledge of extremes is essential for the design of reliable and robust coastal defences. A storm tide that occurred on 12–13 March 1906 along the German Bight coastline still represents one of the strongest events on record. For this event, detailed knowledge of atmospheric and hydrodynamic conditions is still lacking. To assess the potential impact of such an event on today’s coastline, century-long atmospheric reanalysis data together with a manual synoptic reconstruction based on archived weather data were used to drive a tide-surge model and to simulate water levels during the event. Sensitivity experiments were performed to estimate potential amplification of water levels that could have been caused by different time lags between the storm and the astronomical tide. Comparison between the model results and the limited available observational data indicated, that the water levels could be reasonably reconstructed using wind fields from the manual synoptic approach and some of the reanalysis ensemble members. The amplification potential was found to be low because the storm occurred during spring tide and shifts in the phase of the astronomic tide yielded only small changes in total water levels. To summarize, if pressure data are available at relevant locations, historical storm surges can be simulated with reanalysis products and also with a manual synoptic reconstruction.

Elke M. I. Meyer et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-325', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 Dec 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Elke Meyer, 11 Feb 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-325', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 Dec 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC2', Elke Meyer, 11 Feb 2022

Elke M. I. Meyer et al.

Elke M. I. Meyer et al.


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Short summary
The severe storm tide of 13.03.1906 is still one of the most severe storm events for the region of the East Frisian coast. Water levels from this event are considered for designing dike lines. For the first time, we investigate this event with a hydrodynamic model by forcing with atmospheric data from 147 ensemble members from century reanalysis projects and a manual reconstruction of the synoptic situation. Water levels were notably high due to a coincidence of high spring tides and high surge.