The marine environment represents a large and important resource for communities around the world. However, the marine environment increasingly presents hazards that can have a large negative impact. One important marine hazard results from storms and their accompanying surges. This can lead to coastal flooding, particularly when surge and astronomical high tides align, with resultant impacts such as destruction of property, saline degradation of agricultural land and coastal erosion.
Where tide and storm surge information are provided and accessed in a timely, accurate and understandable way, the data can provide:
1. Evidence for planning: Statistics of past conditions such as the probability of extreme event occurrence can be used to help plan improvements to coastal infrastructure that are able to withstand and mitigate the hazard from a given extreme event.
2. Early warning systems: Short term forecasts of storm surge allow provide early warnings to coastal communities enabling them to take actions to allow them to withstand extreme events, e.g. deploy flood prevention measures or mobilise emergency response measures.
Data regarding sea level height can be provided from various in-situ observations such as tide gauges and remote observations such as satellite altimetry. However, to provide a forecast at high spatial and temporal resolution a dynamic ocean model is used. Over recent decades the National Oceanography Centre has been a world leading in developing coastal ocean models. This paper will present our progress on a current project to develop an information system for the Madagascan Met Office. The project, C-RISC, being executed in partnership with Sea Level Research Ltd, is translating the current modelling capability of NOC in storm surge forecasting and tidal prediction into a system that will provide information that can be easily transferred to other regions and is scalable to include other hazard types The outcome, an operational high-resolution storm surge warning system that is easy to relocate, will directly benefit coastal communities, giving them information they need to make effective decisions before and during extreme storm surge events.