In the 50 years since the catastrophic southern North Sea storm surge of 31 January–1 February 1953, there have been technological advances in the engineering of flood protection, increased understanding of physical processes in shallow seas and estuaries, and developments in the mathematical statistics of extreme events. This introductory paper reviews how the scientific understanding of surge events, their impacts and the human responses to them is evolving on many fronts, often across disciplinary boundaries. The question of how the long-term nature of the problem itself will be influenced by possible climate, land use and policy changes is addressed, along with their associated uncertainties.
One contribution of 14 to a Theme ‘The Big Flood: North Sea storm surge’.
↵1 The meeting was organized by the Cambridge University Centre for Risk in the Built Environment (CURBE) and supported by FloodRiskNet. Sponsors were the British Geomorphological Research Group, Halifax General Insurance Services Limited, the Risk Group, Risk Management Solutions and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research (Research Theme 4 ‘Sustaining the coastal zone’). As well as to all contributors, we are grateful to Dr J. Brown (University of Amsterdam), Dr D. Goodman (Foundation for Science and Technology), Professor M. Hulme (Executive Director, Tyndall Centre), Dr I. Kelman (Deputy Director, CURBE), Dr I. Moller (Deputy Director, Cambridge Coastal Research Unit), Professor R. Spence (Director, CURBE) and Professor A. Watkinson (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia) for inputs into meeting planning and execution.
- © 2005 The Royal Society