Dr Emiliano Renzi and his research team at Loughborough University are working on a storm surge early warning system.
Violent storms out at sea make large waves – called storm surges – which strong winds blow towards the shore.
All of this activity makes a noise in the water that we can hear and record as sound waves called “acoustic signals”.
These signals travel through the sea much faster than the water actually moves, reaching land long before the waves.
By studying these signals, Dr Renzi and his researchers are learning more about storm surges.
They are using maths and computer science to do this.
When they understand more about storm surge signals – how they are made and how they move – they will be able to create an algorithm that can predict possible coastal flooding.
When they can do this, they will be able to build a storm surge early warning system that will save lives, homes and businesses.
Did you know...?
The speed of sound
Acoustic signals can travel at 1,500 metres per second – that’s 5,400 km per hour – almost the distance between London and New York!
The problem with acoustic signals
Acoustic signals are very tricky to record at the coast because they bounce off the land back out to sea.
What's an algorithm?
An “algorithm” is a set of rules to follow when doing a complicated calculation.