After the flood

31 January 2013 | 12:22pm | Thu

After the flood

Research by Fitzwilliam Fellow Dr Iris Möller features in a BBC report about flood defences, on the anniversary of the 1953 North Sea Flood.

A storm surge in the North Sea caused catastrophic flooding on the coast of eastern England on 31 January 1953. The flood inundated more than 65,000 hectares of land, damaged 24,000 houses and around 200 important industrial premises, resulting in 307 deaths in the immediate flooding phase.

Dr Möller is part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s CBESS project, investigating the role of saltmarshes and coastal ecosystems in reducing flood damage. The project features in an article by BBC Science editor David Shukman on 31st January 2013 and in a Cambridge University feature on the research.

Regarding the research, Dr Möller said: "We already know that some of the Essex marshes regularly reduce the energy of waves by up to 90% over a distance of 80 metres or so. […] Hard defences are expensive and doomed to fail or incur ever-increasing costs. A key priority is the need to restore a natural coastal 'buffer' zone, free from human occupation and compatible with the ‘inbuilt’ ability of the coast to respond dynamically to environmental change – such as sea level rise or more frequent storms."

Dr Iris Möller is Lecturer in Physical Geography at Fitzwilliam College, and Deputy Director of the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit.

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