Modelling sea level surges in the Firth of Clyde, a fjordic embayment in south-west Scotland

Alessandro Sabatino, Rory B. O'Hara Murray, Alan Hills, Douglas C. Speirs, Michael R. Heath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
157 Downloads (Pure)


Storm surges are an abnormal enhancement of the water level in response to weather perturbations. They have the capacity to cause damaging flooding of coastal regions, expecially when they coincide with astronomical high spring tides. Some areas of the UK have suffered particularly damaging surge events, and the Firth of Clyde is a region with high risk due to its location and morphology. Here we use a three-dimensional high spatial resolution hydrodynamic model to simulate the local bathymetric and morphological enhancement of surge in the Clyde, and disaggregate the effects of far-field atmospheric pressure distribution and local scale wind forcing of surges. A climatological analysis, based on 30 years of data from Millport tide gauges is also discussed. The results suggest that floods are not only caused by extreme surge events, but also by the coupling of spring high tides with moderate surges. Water level is also enhanced by a funnelling effect due to the bathymetry and the morphology of fjordic sealochs and the River Clyde estuary. In a world of rising sea level, studying the propagation and the climatology of surges and high water events is fundamental. In addition, high-resolution hydrodynamic models are essential to forecast extreme events and prevents the loss of lives, or to plan coastal defences solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalNatural Hazards
Early online date12 Aug 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Aug 2016


  • coastal flooding
  • hydrodynamics
  • tides
  • storm
  • wave
  • modelling
  • storm surges
  • climatological analysis
  • Clyde estuary



Finite Volume Community Ocean Model (FVCOM) and outputs for the Firth of Clyde

Heath, M. (Data Manager) & Sabatino, A. (Creator), University of Strathclyde, 7 Apr 2016


Research Output

  • 7 Citations
  • 1 Article

Landscape effects on demersal fish revealed by field observations and predictive seabed modelling

Elliott, S. A. M., Sabatino, A. D., Heath, M. R., Turrell, W. R. & Bailey, D. M., 11 Dec 2017, In : PLoS One. 12, 12, 13 p., e0189011.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
6 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


  • 1 Membership of committee

Scottish Government (External organisation)

Mike Heath (Member)

Jun 2015 → …

Activity: Membership typesMembership of committee

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