Mobile version

Storm in the Bay of Biscay

Image of the Month - March 2016

Tidal height at 5 AM on Feb. 11, 2016 (left) and sea level anomalies uncorrected from both tides and atmospheric pressure from Saral. Saral flew a bit off the Aquitaine coasts on February 11, 2016 at high tide, a day when Bordeaux quays were flooded. If we look at Sea level anomalies uncorrected from tides and from atmospheric pressure, and compare it to the same track 35 days earlier (previous cycle), we see a difference of about 3 metres (mostly due to tides, but not only). This gives an indication of what could have happened up the river at Bordeaux (adding heavy rains, too, flowing down the river) (Credits Aviso)


A series of storms stroke French Atlantic coasts beginning of February 2016. During one of those, the quays of Bordeaux were flooded. The city of Bordeaux is not on the coasts but near enough from the ocean on the Garonne river that it is subject to tides and other ocean influences. These latter include the fact that low atmospheric pressures (as seen during storms) mean a higher sea surface height, since the atmosphere weights less on the ocean waters. Moreover, the river can also rise due to rains (or snow melt).

Storm surges, or at least high water levels during storms are the main reason for coastal flooding. When you add the effects from low pressure, high tides, and winds blowing from the sea to the land, the water level can rise higher than usual, sometimes dramatically so.

Altimetry in coastal areas is the subject of many studies, and the data are improving constantly. Waiting for Swot and its high resolution, we can already measure such phenomena a little off the coasts, and modelize what happens.

See also:

Rss feedsContactPartnersFAQLexiconLegal noticePersonal Data Protection PolicyMobile
You must enable cookies in your browser preferences to save the modifications
You are using an older version of Internet Explorer, please update to take full advantage of Aviso+ features

Customize the home page

View all widgets
Reduce display
Public profile
User profile

Select/Deselect widgets

Discover AVISO+

Customizable home, reading tools, products search guide, etc.. Discover step by step the features of the new site AVISO+.

Customizable homepage

This home page is composed of blocks called "widgets".

Rearrange the blocks with a "Click & Drop".

Hide a widget with the cross at the top right. Reset or add a widget with the "wrench" icon. The "User" and "Public" profiles offer a predefined organization.

All the modifications are automatically saved as cookies on your machine so as to enable you to have your own specific AVISO+.

Reading tools

Ease your reading by choosing the page background colour (black/white) and/or by modifying the font size.

Browsing menu and breadcrum trail

To ease your browsing through AVISO+, you can use at any time the main banner items with the interactive submenus or use the browsing menu on the left side of the screen (it is open by default). For more readiness of the page contents, you can fold and unfold the browsing menu by clicking on the tab. At any time you can know where you are thanks to the browsing menu or the breadcrum at the top of the page.

Products search guide

The first submenu of the "Data" banner item leads you to a new search form enabling you to find quickier the product that suits your needs. The list of results is updated according to your selection criteria.

AVISO+ Multimedia

The first submenu of the "Multimedia" banner item leads you to AVISO+ collections of images and videos linked to altimetry and its applications. Have a nice visit!