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  • Writer's

SWEEP: The OWWL Model: Predicting wave and water levels to inform coastal safety

Every year flooding has an enormous effect on the UK's coastal regions, particularly in the South West. Flooding and high water levels pose a risk to people and properties as well as costing local agencies considerable sums to mitigate against.

One of the key achievements of the SWEEP Wave Forecasting Impact Project has been the launch of their Operational Wave and Water Level model (OWWL). Available live on the Channel Coastal Observatory website, OWWL automatically generates daily outputs that give greater resolution to current wave and water height data available.

OWWL also enables better predictions for locations all around the South West coast, even areas not currently measured by wave buoys. Each day, OWWL generates a three-day forecast and one-day hindcast, which plots data from the model against data from nearshore wave buoys and tide gauges. You can try the model for yourself at:

The South West Partnership for Environmental and Economic Prosperity (SWEEP) is a major Natural Environment Research Council impact programme (2017‐2022), which connects expertise at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth and Plymouth Marine Laboratory with a large group (200+) of highly‐engaged regional and national businesses, policy makers and community partners.

The natural environment, economy and people are all interconnected and interdependent. This film provides real-world examples of how the Natural Capital Approach can be adopted, whereby nature is brought into the heart of decision making. The South West economy is heavily dependent on a healthy, well-managed, natural environment, and the SWEEP approach has directly benefited business, the economy and people in the South West.


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