Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 67, Issue 11, pp 1443–1459 | Cite as

Numerical modeling of storm surges in the coast of Mozambique: the cases of tropical cyclones Bonita (1996) and Lisette (1997)

  • Alberto José BiéEmail author
  • Ricardo de Camargo
  • Alberto Francisco Mavume
  • Joseph Harari
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 8th International Workshop on Modeling the Ocean (IWMO), Bologna, Italy, 7-10 June 2016


The coast of Mozambique is often affected by storms, particularly tropical cyclones during summer or sometimes midlatitude systems in the southern part. Storm surges combined with high freshwater discharge can drive huge coastal floods, affecting both urban and rural areas. To improve the knowledge about the impact of storm surges in the coast of Mozambique, this study presents the first attempt to model this phenomenon through the implementation of the Princeton Ocean Model (POM) in the Southwestern Indian Ocean domain (SWIO; 2–32°S, 28–85°E) using a regular grid with 1/6° of spatial resolution and 36 sigma levels. The simulation was performed for the period 1979–2010, and the most interesting events of surges were related to tropical cyclones Bonita (1996) and Lisette (1997) that occurred in the Mozambique Channel. The results showed that the model represented well the amplitude and phase of principal lunar and solar tidal constituents, as well as it captured the spatial pattern and magnitudes of SST with slight positive bias in summer and negative bias in winter months. In terms of SSH, the model underestimated the presence of mesoscale eddies, mainly in the Mozambique Channel. Our results also showed that the atmospheric sea level pressure had a significant contribution to storm heights during the landfall of the tropical cyclones Bonita (1996) and Lisette (1997) in the coast of Mozambique contributing with about 20 and 16% of the total surge height for each case, respectively, surpassing the contribution of the tide-surge nonlinear interactions by a factor of 2.


Tropical cyclone Storm surges Coast of Mozambique 



The first author would like to thank to National Council for Science and Technology Development of Brazil (CNPq) for the fellowship in the Graduate Course on Meteorology. This research was developed in the context of a project funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation which invests in science, engineering, and technology for public benefit, worldwide. The authors also thank to the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and suggestions, which helped to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto José Bié
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ricardo de Camargo
    • 1
  • Alberto Francisco Mavume
    • 2
  • Joseph Harari
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsEduardo Mondlane UniversityMaputoMozambique
  3. 3.Oceanographic InstituteUniversity of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil

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