Project overview

CoFee case study area - Liverpool Bay and the Sefton coast
CoFee case study area - Liverpool Bay and the Sefton coast ©

CoFEE is part of the NERC Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) Programme. FREE uses expertise in environmental science to investigate the physical processes involved in generating floods from extreme weather events, so that improvements can be made in their predictions. It aims to research what causes and propagates floods, helping to forecast and quantify flood risk and inform society about the likely effects of climate change.

CoFEE is a three year, NERC funded project, which started on 01 April 2007. Its goal is to assess, through advanced modelling, the present and future flood risk during extreme events. CoFEE aims to provide, within carefully prescribed limits of uncertainty, information for a diverse range of coastal types. This includes

  • The speed and extent of coastal flooding during an extreme event for present climate conditions.
  • The maximum expected extent of coastal flooding during an extreme event in the future based on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defined climate change scenarios.
  • The sensitivity of different coastal types to extreme floods in the future in relation to their present flood risk.

CoFEE will focus on a case study area of Liverpool Bay and the Sefton Coast.


A Coastal Storm Impact Model (CoSIM) will be developed through the course of this project. This model will have the capability of predicting flood extent and magnitude, and predicting and accounting for morphological change at the land/sea interface. It will be driven at its seaward boundary from the Irish Sea Model (POLCOMS) developed by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Liverpool (formerly the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory). It will be coupled to a range of atmospheric, wave and turbulence modules to enable it to simulate recorded past flooding events.

Historical observations of local flooding available from a variety of sources will be used to calibrate the outputs of the CoSIM. Once calibrated, the CoSIM will be run for future events, using a combination of three IPCC sea level rise scenarios and other anticipated extreme events. The model outputs will allow CoFEE to examine how changes in flood inundation speed and extent increase risks to life, property and infrastructure.

Investigations will be carried out by CoFEE into how information in an ensemble-based forecasting system should be presented. Stakeholder engagement will be a crucial part of the project in this phase, enabling a robust strategy for dissemination of information to be developed.

Coastal Flooding by Extreme Events (CoFEE)