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CENAS Project


Coastal areas around the Northern Adriatic Sea have always been threatened by dangerous coastal flooding. These flooding events happen more often than in historical times because of a gradual increase of mean sea level.

The Adriatic Sea is subject to storm surge attacks because of its geographical position and geometry. Storm surges are most effectly generated by periodic strong winds, known as `Scirocco' winds, from the south-east, directed along its length.

A 2-D depth averaged numerical model developed at K.U. Luven is applied to the complete Adriatic Sea with an horizontal mesh size of 6 km by 6 km.

Bathymetry of the Adriatic Sea with the stations used for the model calibration

Seven historical storm have been selected with the purpose of choosing a typical storm event which could cause the most significant surge at the Romagna coast.

List of the selected historical storms in the Adriatic Sea

The hydrodynamic model is calibrated on the storm 6.

Comparison of the modeled surge levels to the observations for the storm-6 period

The highest surge level at the Ravenna coast is found during the storm-1 event.

The highest storm surge level recorded and simulated by the model

The currents at the Ravenna coast simulated by the model during the 7 storms

The weather pattern of storm 1 is then used as the reference storm pattern for future storm events.

Wind pattern which has caused the most significant surge levels at Ravenna

The future storms are obtained by multiplying the wind intensity by a factor equal to 0.855, 1, and 1.15 for 1, 10, and 100 year return period, respectively. These factors are found by matching the estimated surge levels at the Ravenna coast with the modeled surge levels.

The extreme storm surge levels in the Adriatic Sea simulated by using a 1 year wind

The extreme storm surge levels in the Adriatic Sea simulated by using a 10 year wind

The extreme storm surge levels in the Adriatic Sea simulated by using a 100 year wind

Scenarios of future changes of sea-level and topography with the surges generated by these future storms are simulated by the surge model. From these results the following conclusions can be made:

Simulated extreme surge levels at Ravenna and Venice for various scenarios

Presentation author: Andrea Pellizzon