Natural Hazards

, Volume 75, Issue 2, pp 1619–1647 | Cite as

Field observation and numerical simulation of past and future storm surges in the Bay of Bengal: case study of cyclone Nargis

  • Khandker Masuma TasnimEmail author
  • Tomoya Shibayama
  • Miguel Esteban
  • Hiroshi Takagi
  • Koichiro Ohira
  • Ryota Nakamura
Original Paper


Storm surges are one of the most important risks to coastal communities around the Bay of Bengal, and it is feared that the threat they pose will increase with climate change in the future. To understand the threats that these events pose, a summary of the field surveys performed in Yangon River Basin after cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008 is presented. Though due to government restrictions survey activities were limited to the area near Yangon city, it was found out that the tide due to the storm surge was probably between 3 and 4 m high and travelled around 50 km upstream of the river mouth of Yangon River. Cyclone Nargis could be accurately reproduced using a numerical model that integrated weather, wave, coastal ocean models, and tide prediction system. The application of such an integrated model is relatively new for storm surge simulation and has never been used for the Bay of Bengal storms. The model was then used to also simulate future cyclones over the Bay of Bengal considering a future climate change scenario.


Tropical cyclone Numerical model Prediction Storm surge 



The present work was supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) No. 22404011 from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) and Strategic Research Foundation Grant-aided Project for Private Universities from Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology. The authors would like to express their gratitude to the anonymous comments of various reviewers (and especially reviewer #2), whose suggestions for improvements helped the authors rethink various parts of the model and greatly improve the final results of this paper.


  1. Allison I, Bindoff NL, Bindschadler R et al. (2009) The Copenhagen diagnosis, 2009: updating the world on the latest climate science. Retrieved 26 Jan 2010
  2. Bender MA, Ginis I, Tuleya R, Thomas B, Marchok T (2007) The operational GFDL coupled hurricane ocean prediction system and a summary of its performance. Mon Weather Rev 135:3965–3989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen C, Beardsley RC (2012) An unstructured-grid, finite-volume community ocean model FVCOM user manual, 3rd edn, 408 pp, MITSG 12–25.
  4. Chen C, Liu H (2003) An unstructured grid, finite-volume, three-dimensional, primitive equation ocean model: application to coastal ocean and estuaries. J Atmos Ocean Technol 20:159–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chua J-H, Sampson CR (2002) The joint typhoon warning center best-tracks 1945–2000.
  6. Flather RA, Khandker H (1993) The storm surge problem and possible effects of sea level changes on coastal flooding in the Bay of Bengal. In: Warrick RA, Barrow EM, Wigley TML (eds) Climate and sea level change: observations, projections and implications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 229–245Google Scholar
  7. Frank NL, Husain SA (1971) The deadliest tropical cyclone in history. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 52:438–445. doi: 10.1175/1520-0477   
  8. Fritz HM, Blount C, Thwin S, Thu MK, Chan N (2010) Cyclone Nargis storm surge flooding in Myanmar’s ayeyarwady river delta, Indian ocean tropical cyclones and climate change 2010, pp 295–303.
  9. Fritz HM, Blount C, Thwin S, Thu MK, Chan N (2011) Observations and modeling of cyclone Nargis storm surge in Myanmar. In: Wallendorf L et al (eds) Proceedings of the 4th COPRI solutions to coastal disasters conference, ASCE, Anchorage, AK, 25–29 June 2011 Google Scholar
  10. Hasegawa K (2008) Features of super cyclone Sidr to hit Bangladesh in Nov 07 and measures for disaster from results of JSCE investigation. In: Proceedings of the WFEO-JFES-JSCE joint international symposium on disaster risk management. Sendai, JapanGoogle Scholar
  11. Hiraishi T (2009a) Field survey on facility damage in Yangon harbor due to 2008 storm surge. Technical Note of the Port and Airport Research Institute, No. 1192, March 2009Google Scholar
  12. Hiraishi T (2009b) Field survey of harbor facility damage due to cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. In: Proceedings of the nineteenth international offshore and polar engineering conference. Osaka, Japan, June 21–26, 2009Google Scholar
  13. India Meteorological Department (1979) Tracks of cyclones and depressions in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea 1891–2007, Cyclone eAtlas-IMDGoogle Scholar
  14. IPCC 4AR (2007) Fourth assessment report (4AR) of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).
  15. IPCC 5AR SPM (2013) Fifth assessment report summary for policy makers (5AR SPM) of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC).
  16. JTWC (2008) Tropical cyclone best track data. 16 Sep 2008
  17. Katsura J, Cyclone Disaster Research Group (1992) Storm surge and strong wind disaster due to 1991 cyclone in Bangladesh. Annu Disaster Prev Res Inst Kyoto Univ 35A:119–159 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  18. Knutson T, McBride J, Chan J, Emanuel K, Holland G, Landsea C, Held I, Kossin J, Srivastava A, Sugi M (2010) Tropical cyclones and climate change. Nat Geosci 3(3):157–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kumar A, Done J, Dudhia J, Niyogi D (2011) Simulations of cyclone Sidr in the Bay of Bengal with a high-resolution model: sensitivity to large-scale boundary forcing. Meteorol Atmos Phys 114(3–4):123–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li WW, Wang C (2012) Modulation of low-latitude west wind on abnormal track and intensity of tropical cyclone Nargis (2008) in the Bay of Bengal. Adv Atmos Sci 29(2):407–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lin NM (2009) Storm surge inundation analysis of cyclone Nargis event.
  22. Matsumoto K, Takanezawa T, Ooe M (2000) Ocean tide models developed by assimilating TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter data into hydrodynamical model: a global model and a regional model around Japan. J Oceanogr 56(5):567–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McPhaden MJ, Foltz GR, Lee T, Murty VSN, Ravichandran M, Vecchi GA, Vialard J, Wiggert JD, Yu L (2009) Ocean-atmosphere interactions during cyclone Nargis. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 90(7):53–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Meehl GA, Stocker TF, Collins WD, Friedlingstein P, Gaye AT, Gregory JM, Kitoh A, Knutti R, Murphy JM, Noda A, Raper SCB, Watterson IG, Weaver AJ, Zhao Z-C (2007) Global climate projections. In: Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Mohanty UC, Osuri KK, Routray A, Mohapatra M, Pattanayak S (2010) Simulation of Bay of Bengal tropical cyclones with WRF model: impact of initial and boundary conditions. Mar Geod 33:294–314Google Scholar
  26. UNDP Myanmar (2008) Post Nargis joint assessment, July 2008.
  27. UNDP Myanmar (2008) Post-Nargis joint assessment, July 2008.
  28. Obashi GOP (1994) WMO’s role in the international decade for natural disaster reduction. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 75:1655–1661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ohira K, Shibayama T (2012) Comprehensive numerical simulation of waves caused by typhoons using a meteorology-wave-storm surge-tide coupled model. In: Proceeding of international conference on coastal engineering, ICCE, Santander, 2012Google Scholar
  30. Okayasu A, Shimozono T, Thein MM, Aung TT (2009) Survey of storm surge induced by cyclone Nargis in Ayeyarwaddy. J Jpn Soc Civil Eng B2-65(1):1386–1390Google Scholar
  31. Pattanaik DR, Rao YVR (2009) Track prediction of very severe cyclone Nargis using high resolution weather research forecasting (WRF) model. J Earth Syst Sci 118(4):309–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rao BDV, Tallapragada V (2011) Tropical cyclone prediction over Bay of Bengal: a comparison of the performance of NCEP operational HWRF, NCAR ARW and MM5 models. Nat Hazards. doi: 10.1007/s11069-011-9839-z Google Scholar
  33. Shibayama T, Takagi H, Hnu N (2009) Disaster survey after the cyclone Nargis in 2008. In: Proceedings of the 5th APAC, vol 2, pp 190–193Google Scholar
  34. Shibayama T, Aoki Y, Takagi H (2010) Field survey and analysis of flood behavior of storm surge due to cyclone Nargis in Myanmar. Annu J Civ Eng Ocean JSCE 26:429–434 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  35. Skamarock WC, Klemp JB, Dudhia J, Gill DO, Barker DM, Wang W, Powers JG (2005) A description of the advanced research WRF version 2. NCAR tech notes-468 + STRGoogle Scholar
  36. Surgi N, Tuleya R, Liu Q, Tallapragada V, Kwon Y (2008) Advancement of the HWRF for the next generation prediction at NCEP’s environmental modeling center. In: Proceedings of the 62nd interdepartmental hurricane conferenceGoogle Scholar
  37. Tyagi A, Mohapatra M, Bandyopadhyay B, Singh C, Kumar N (2010) Characteristics of very severe cyclonic storm Nargis over the Bay of Bengal during 27 April to 3 May 2008 Indian ocean tropical cyclones and climate change 2010, pp 315–325Google Scholar
  38. UNISIS (2008) Hurricane/tropical data for Northern Indian ocean, 16 Sep 2008
  39. University of Alaska (2008) Geographic information network of Alaska. 16 Sep 2008
  40. Vermeer M, Rahmstorf S (2009) Global sea level linked to global temperature. PNAS 106:21527–21532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Webster PJ (2008) Myanmar's deadly daffodil. Nat Geosci 1:488–490. doi: 10.1038/ngeo257

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khandker Masuma Tasnim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tomoya Shibayama
    • 1
  • Miguel Esteban
    • 2
  • Hiroshi Takagi
    • 3
  • Koichiro Ohira
    • 4
  • Ryota Nakamura
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Science and EngineeringWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Frontier SciencesThe University of TokyoKashiwa-shi, ChibaJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Science and EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyMeguro-ku, TokyoJapan
  4. 4.Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc.NagoyaJapan

Personalised recommendations