Storm-Surge Induced Water Level Changes in the Odra River Mouth Area (Southern Baltic Coast)

Authors: Halina Kowalewska-Kalkowska
Journal: Atmosphere
Year: 2021

The Odra River mouth area is a region of the Southern Baltic coastal zone especially prone to the influence of storm surges. In the present study, the height and extent of the Baltic storm surges, and temporal offsets of the respective maximum water level occurrences in the Odra River mouth area were explored using cross-correlation, cluster analysis and principal component analysis. The analyses were based on hourly water level readings retrieved from water gauging stations located along the lower Odra reaches and at the coasts of the Szczecin Lagoon and the Pomeranian Bay during storm surge years 2008/2009–2019/2020. The analysis of mutual relationships between water levels during storm surges indicated that the extent of marine influence on the lower Odra River and within the Szczecin Lagoon was variable during the studied surge events, and dependent on meteorological conditions (the strongest during the sustained occurrence of wind blowing from the northern sector), discharge from the Odra River catchment (the strongest at low discharge), ice conditions on the lower Odra (suppressing the storm surge propagation upstream), and general sea level in the Pomeranian Bay (stronger at high sea levels). The strongest correlation between sea levels at Świnoujście and water levels in the Szczecin Lagoon and the lower Odra was found at a 6–7 h offset. The extent of storm surges usually reached 100 km up the lower Odra channels, less frequently reaching 130 km away from the sea.