Modelling a storm surge under future climate scenarios: case study of extratropical cyclone Gudrun (2005)

Martin Mäll*, Ülo Suursaar, Ryota Nakamura, Tomoya Shibayama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Weather Research and Forecasting atmosphere model and Finite Volume Community Ocean Model were for the first time used under the pseudo-climate simulation approach, to study the parameters of an extreme storm in the Baltic Sea area. We reconstructed the met-ocean conditions during the historical storm Gudrun (which caused a record-high +275 cm surge in Pärnu Bay on 9 January 2005) and simulated the future equivalent of Gudrun by modifying the background conditions using monthly mean value differences in sea surface temperature (SST), atmospheric air temperature and relative humidity from MIROC5 in accordance with the IPCC scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 for 2050 and 2100. The simulated storm route and storm surge parameters were in good accordance with the observed ones. Despite expecting the continuation of recently observed intensification of cyclonic activity in winter months, our numerical simulations showed that intensity of the strongest storms and storm surges in the Baltic Sea might not increase by the end of twenty-first century. Unlike tropical cyclones, which derive their energy from the increasing SST, the extratropical cyclones (ETCs) harvest their primary energy from the thermal differences on the sides of the polar front, which may decrease if the Arctic warms up. For climatological generalizations on future ETCs, however, it is necessary to re-calculate a larger number of storms, including those with different tracks and in different thermal conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1144
Number of pages26
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1


  • Baltic Sea
  • ETC
  • Global warming
  • Pseudo-climate modelling
  • Sea level
  • Storm surge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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