Flood Forecasting and Flood Warning in the Firth of Clyde, UK
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Coastal flooding has caused significant damage to a number of communities around the Firth of Clyde in south-west Scotland, UK. The Firth of Clyde is an enclosed embayment affected by storm surge generated in the Northern Atlantic and propagated through the Irish Channel. In recent years, the worst flooding occurred on 5th January 1991 with the estimated damage of approximately £7M. On average, some £0.5M damage is caused each year by coastal flooding. With the latest climate change predictions suggesting increased storm activity and the expected increase in mean sea levels, these damages are likely to increase. In line with the expansion of flood warning provision in Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has developed a flood warning system to provide local authorities and emergency services with up to 24 h warning of coastal flooding within the Firth of Clyde and River Clyde Estuary up to Glasgow City Centre. The Firth of Clyde flood warning system consists of linked 1-D and 2-D mathematical models of the Firth of Clyde and Clyde Estuary, and other software tools for data processing, viewing and generating warning messages. The general methodology adopted in its implementation was developed following extensive consultation with the relevant authorities, including local councils and police. The warning system was launched in October 1999 and has performed well during four winter flood seasons. The system currently makes forecasts four times a day and is the only operational coastal flood warning system in Scotland.
This paper summarises the development of the warning system, gives a review of its operation since its launch in 1999 and discusses future developments in flood warning in Scotland.
Keywordsflood forecasting flood warning tides surges numerical modelling
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