Statistical analysis of extreme sea water levels at the Falsterbo Peninsula, South Sweden / Statistisk analys av extrema vattenstånd vid Falsterbohalvön
Falsterbo Peninsula on the south coast of Sweden is low-lying and exposed to flooding. In 1872 the extreme storm surge Backafloden caused large devastation on the Swedish, Danish, and German coasts in the South Baltic Sea. For the Falsterbo Peninsula, the peak storm surge level is estimated to have been 240 cm above normal. If a similar event happened today, the consequences would be far worse, as extensive flood prone areas have been developed since 1872. Due to climate change, the mean sea level is expected to rise and increase the flood risk unless preventive measures are taken. This paper discusses the occurrence of extreme sea levels at the Falsterbo Peninsula and design levels for coastal protection. Sea level observations from Skanör, Klagshamn, and Ystad are analysed with General Extreme Value and General Pareto Distribution models to estimate sea levels with return periods of 100–500 years. The estimated return period of the 1872 event, based on these models, resulted in an unrealistically low probability. To better understand the statistical behaviour of extreme storm surges of this magnitude on the Swedish south coast, development of more advanced statistical models will be required.