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What is the difference between storm surge and seiche?

Feb 28, 2019 17:56 IST
    What is the difference between storm surge and seiche?

    The movements in the water body in the form of waves are caused by wind. These wind-driven waves or surface waves are formed due to the friction between the wind and surface water.

    What is Storm surge?

    Storm surge is the unusual rise in the water levels generated by a storm over and above the predicted astronomical tide. It is caused by the strong winds in a hurricane or tropical storm. Storm surge together with tides, waves and freshwater input increases the water level and can penetrate well inland from the coastal region causing huge damage.

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    What is Seiche?

    The term seiche can be defined as a wave on the surface of a lake or landlocked bay; caused by atmospheric or seismic disturbances. It is caused due to strong winds and rapid changes in the atmosphere which pushes the water from one end of the body to the other. When the wind stops water rebounds to the other side and this phenomenon continues.

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    Difference between storm surge and seiche

    Storm surge


    It is a coastal flood or tsunami-like phenomenon of rising water commonly associated with low pressure weather systems.

    It is a standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water.

    It can be observed at sea. It is the abnormal rise in sea water level during a storm, measured as the height of the water above the normal predicted astronomical tide.

    This phenomenon can be observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, harbours and seas.

    It is caused primarily by a storm’s wind pushing water onshore.

    It is caused by long period or infragravity waves, which are due to subharmonic nonlinear wave interaction with the wind waves, having periods longer than the accompanying wind-generated waves.

    Hence, we can say the abnormal rise of water level is often the greatest threat to life and property. Both the terms (storm surge and seiche) are naturally occurring phenomenon primarily linked to wind but the impacts are different.

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