MARLIT project: prevention of storm-related risks and protection of the coast against climate change

Rivages Pro Tech, SUEZ’s centre of expertise in aquatic environments, is participating in the MARLIT project, a cross-border initiative that aims to improve the forecasting systems associated with ocean storms on the French-Spanish Basque coast and the Catalan coast, in the current and future climate.
The objective? To find solutions to mitigate the effects of storms, particularly in urbanised coastal areas, by drawing on in-depth knowledge of the wave-submersion and erosion processes, and by taking into account future global warming scenarios, both for the safety of residents and the protection of infrastructures.

Launched in 2020 for a period of two and a half years, the programme is developing innovative monitoring systems, such as autonomous topographic observation mechanisms and new videometric tools, as well as state-of-the-art modelling of wave propagation to determine and predict the impact of storms. These tools are being used to identify and assess suitable ways to mitigate the impact of storms on the coastline.

“In 2014, a series of storms hit the Atlantic coast, contributing to the heightened concern about the rise in extreme weather events and their relationship with climate change,” explains Pedro Liria, AZTI’s oceanography and coastal monitoring expert and the project’s technical manager.

More recently, Storm Justine violently struck the Atlantic coast in late January 2021. Thanks to the alert sent out by the management assistance systems developed by the Rivages Pro Tech centre with the support of the MARLIT project and its partners, the city of Biarritz was able to deploy various exceptional protective measures, which helped largely mitigate the impact of this severe ocean storm.