Sea level

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  • Historic sea level data from 6 sites on the South coast of England, recovered as part of a PhD on sea level trends in the English Channel. Devonport: 1961-1986, 1988-1990 Newhaven: 1942-1948, 1950-1951, 1953-1957, 1964-1965, 1973, 1988 Portsmouth: 1961-1990 Southampton: 1935-1979, 1982-1990 St. Marys: 1968-1969, 1973, 1975, 1977-1978, 1987-1989 Weymouth: 1967-1971, 1983-1987 There are raw data files and cleaned data files. The cleaned files have been corrected for datum changes which are recorded in the readme files for each site.

  • A large number of charts (originals and copies) together with tabulations of data are also available, some of which date back to the 1850s. A more detailed description of these will be available once they have been systematically catalogued and archived.

  • This dataset contains tabulations of the heights and times of tidal high and low water at St. Helena from 1 October 1826 to 31 October 1827. The tide was recorded by an instrument designed by Manuel Johnson, a future President of the Royal Astronomical Society, while waiting for an observatory to be built. The tabulations in this dataset were obtained by inspection of photographs of Johnson's tabulation sheets that are held in the archive RGO 6/500 in the Royal Greenwich Observatory collection at Cambridge University Library. It is an important record in the history of tidal science, as the only previous measurements at St. Helena had been those made by Nevil Maskelyne in 1761, and there were to be no other systematic measurements until the late 20th century. Johnson’s tide gauge, of a curious but unique design, recorded efficiently the height of every tidal high and low water for at least 13 months, in spite of requiring frequent re-setting. These heights compare very reasonably with a modern tidal synthesis based on present-day tide gauge measurements from the same site. Johnson’s method of timing is unknown, but his calculations of lunar phases suggest that his tidal measurements were recorded in Local Apparent Time. Unfortunately, the recorded times are found to be seriously and variably lagged by many minutes. Johnson’s data have never been fully published, but his manuscripts have been safely archived and are available for inspection at Cambridge University. His data have been converted to computer files as part of this study for the benefit of future researchers. This dataset supports the paper “Cartwright, D.E.; Woodworth, P.L.; Ray, R.D.. 2017 Manuel Johnson's tide record at St. Helena. History of Geo- and Space Sciences”. Richard Ray (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and Philip Woodworth (National Oceanography Centre) modified and added figures to David E. Cartwright’s original draft paper and sections of text have been updated, but otherwise the paper is as he intended it. This work was undertaken when Philip Woodworth was an Honorary Research Fellow at the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool in receipt of an Emeritus Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. Part of this work was funded by UK Natural Environment Research Council National Capability funding.

  • The data set comprises time series measurements from offshore pressure gauges mounted on the sea floor. The data holdings are approximately 100 observation months from 30 sites. The data are mainly from trans-ocean sections in the North Atlantic. Data records contain date/time, total pressure (or relative pressure) and, occasionally, temperature. The sampling interval is typically 15 minutes or hourly, over deployment periods ranging from 1 to 6 months. Data were collected mainly by the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL), now the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) at Liverpool, and are managed by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC).

  • Historical sea level data for the Thames region. These data were originally screened as part of an Environment Agency project on extreme sea level in the Thames estuary. Coryton: 1966-1970, 1973-1974 North Woolwich: 1950, 1955-1963, 1965-1967, 1969-1970, 1973-1974 Southend: 1981-1983 Tilbury: 1931-1945, 1960-1961, 1967, 1970, 1984 Tower Pier: 1928-1942, 1944-1945, 1947-1951, 1954-1955, 1958, 1960-1966, 1973

  • The UK national network of sea level gauges was established after violent storms in the North Sea in 1953 resulted in serious flooding in the Thames Estuary. The data are required for research and operational use and to facilitate specific scientific studies of coastal processes such as tidal response, storm surge behaviour and sea level rise; and for underpinning local and national operational systems such as the Storm Tide Forecasting Service at the Met Office. BODC has a special responsibility for the remote monitoring and retrieval of sea level data from the network. Daily checks are kept on the performance of the gauges and the data are downloaded weekly. These are then routinely processed and quality controlled prior to being made available.

  • The data set comprises time series of sea level data from coastal tide gauges. The data holdings include over 1000 site years of data from about 200 sites comprising about 10 million records. About 75 per cent of the data are from some 100 sites around the British Isles - the remaining data are from coastal sites and islands scattered across the globe. Data are primarily hourly values. Recording periods vary from one month at some sites to over several years.There are three short series from around the Irish coast which were collected in 1842.

  • The Mediterranean-Alpine Experiment (MEDALPEX) data set comprises over 200,000 hourly sea level measurements. Data are included from 28 sites around the northern coast of the Mediterranean and one in the Atlantic at Cadiz. Measurements were collected from December 1981 and September 1982, with a special observing period (SOP) between 15 February and 30 April 1982. Twenty eight coastal sites were instrumented with conventional stilling wells, while one offshore site off Corsica used a bottom pressure recorder. The data are stored, together with benchmark information, as time series at each site with hourly values of sea surface elevation recorded to the nearest millimetre. The aim of the MEDALPEX Experiment was to study the role of atmospheric forcing on the dynamics of the Western Mediterranean. Data were supplied by laboratories in Belgium, France, Monaco, Italy, Spain, UK and former Yugoslavia. Responsibility for assembling, quality controlling and analyzing the sea level data collected during MEDALPEX was vested in the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC).

  • The dataset consists of 2580 tiff images of tide gauge charts from Bowling, River Clyde. The images were taken from annual bound volumes of tide gauge charts (~1 page per week, 52 pages per volume). A typical volume measures 37 x 34 x 3.5 cm and pages are single sided. The ledgers for Bowling begin in 1888 and end in 1952, but under this project, only the charts up until 04/01/1939 were photographed. The trace on the original charts was generated by a float tide gauge. The float inside a stilling-well was connected by a wire run over pulleys to a pen that moved up and down as the tide rose and fell. The images were generated by a commercial scanning organisation (TownsWeb Archiving Ltd) using a planetary overhead book scanner. In July 2016 The Peel Group Ltd. (Glasgow) approached BODC to donate their tidal archive, due to office redevelopment. The archive consists of ledgers of tide gauge charts (345 annual bound volumes) and handwritten ledgers (91 bound books) from several locations along the Clyde, with the earliest record beginning in 1841 from Glasgow Harbour. Later that year BODC received a grant from the Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN) to photograph a selection of the ledgers. MEDIN released these funds to support small Data Archiving Projects that increase access to industry marine data. Ledgers also exist for Broomielaw, Dalmuir, Gourock, Govan Wharf, Greenock, Partick Wharf Glasgow, Queen's Dock Entrance Glasgow and Rothesay Dock. Most begin in the late 19th Century and run to the mid-20th century. It is hoped that these will be digitised in the future, subject to funding.

  • This database, and the accompanying website called ‘SurgeWatch’ (, provides a systematic UK-wide record of high sea level and coastal flood events over the last 100 years (1915-2014). Derived using records from the National Tide Gauge Network, a dataset of exceedence probabilities from the Environment Agency and meteorological fields from the 20th Century Reanalysis, the database captures information of 96 storm events that generated the highest sea levels around the UK since 1915. For each event, the database contains information about: (1) the storm that generated that event; (2) the sea levels recorded around the UK during the event; and (3) the occurrence and severity of coastal flooding as consequence of the event. The data are presented to be easily assessable and understandable to a wide range of interested parties. The database contains 100 files; four CSV files and 96 PDF files. Two CSV files contain the meteorological and sea level data for each of the 96 events. A third file contains the list of the top 20 largest skew surges at each of the 40 study tide gauge site. In the file containing the sea level and skew surge data, the tide gauge sites are numbered 1 to 40. A fourth accompanying CSV file lists, for reference, the site name and location (longitude and latitude). A description of the parameters in each of the four CSV files is given in the table below. There are also 96 separate PDF files containing the event commentaries. For each event these contain a concise narrative of the meteorological and sea level conditions experienced during the event, and a succinct description of the evidence available in support of coastal flooding, with a brief account of the recorded consequences to people and property. In addition, these contain graphical representation of the storm track and mean sea level pressure and wind fields at the time of maximum high water, the return period and skew surge magnitudes at sites around the UK, and a table of the date and time, offset return period, water level, predicted tide and skew surge for each site where the 1 in 5 year threshold was reached or exceeded for each event. A detailed description of how the database was created is given in Haigh et al. (2015). Coastal flooding caused by extreme sea levels can be devastating, with long-lasting and diverse consequences. The UK has a long history of severe coastal flooding. The recent 2013-14 winter in particular, produced a sequence of some of the worst coastal flooding the UK has experienced in the last 100 years. At present 2.5 million properties and £150 billion of assets are potentially exposed to coastal flooding. Yet despite these concerns, there is no formal, national framework in the UK to record flood severity and consequences and thus benefit an understanding of coastal flooding mechanisms and consequences. Without a systematic record of flood events, assessment of coastal flooding around the UK coast is limited. The database was created at the School of Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton with help from the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre and the British Oceanographic Data Centre. Collation of the database and the development of the website was funded through a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) impact acceleration grant. The database contributes to the objectives of UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) consortium project FLOOD Memory (EP/K013513/1).