Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Storm Surges

  • Gonéri Le CozannetEmail author
  • Hormoz Modaressi
  • Rodrigo Pedreros
  • Manuel Garcin
  • Yann Krien
  • Nicolas Desramaut
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_332


A storm surge is a rise of water above (1) the predicted astronomical sea tide or (2) a typical lake level. Storm surges occur because of severe hydrometeorological conditions associated with storms and tropical cyclones.



“Storm tide” refers to a rise of seawater above a reference altitude, thus including the astronomical tide.

Processes involved

Storm surges are primarily caused by:
  1. (a)

    Reduced atmospheric pressure: This process is known as the “inverse barometric effect,” by which a reduction of 1 hPa of pressure causes 1-cm water level elevation in stationary conditions.

  2. (b)

    Strong winds that may push water coastward, by creating currents that accumulate waters in shallow areas.

  3. (c)

    Strong waves that create a mean sea level rise as they are breaking (waves setup).


Typically, atmospheric forcing due to pressure and wind dominates for the large continental shelf, whereas wave setup becomes more important for steep submarine slopes.

Storm surges are...
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gonéri Le Cozannet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hormoz Modaressi
    • 2
  • Rodrigo Pedreros
    • 1
  • Manuel Garcin
    • 1
  • Yann Krien
    • 1
  • Nicolas Desramaut
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural Risks and CO2 Storage Security Division/Coastal Risk UnitBRGM-French Geological Survey – Natural Risks and CO2 Storage DivisionOrléansFrance
  2. 2.Natural Risks and CO2 Storage Security DivisionBRGM-French Geological Survey – RNSC/DOrléansFrance
  3. 3.Natural Risks and CO2 Storage Security Division/Landslide Risk UnitBRGM-French Geological Survey – Natural Risks and CO2 Storage DivisionOrléansFrance