Towards a coastal simulation of climate change impacts

The UK strategy for dealing with climate change includes a number of regional scoping plans and models for integrated assessment of climate change. The communities and environments of the coastal zone, in particular, are vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and other climate change impacts. The Tyndall Centre is helping to achieve the UK’s strategic objectives for managing coastal zones by enhancing scientific capability to simulate the complex behaviour of estuary and beach environments. Professor John Dearing at the University of Liverpool’s Department of Geography, and colleagues, are designing coastal models that operate at scales in space and time that capture the complex behaviour of coastline environments. This study extends recent research using the best available geomorphic, coastal and oceanographic information to derive mathematical rules for water flow, sediment transport, erosion and deposition. Once the model has been tested against historical information from Admiralty Charts, Ordnance Survey maps and sedimentary records, it will provide simulations of the impacts of sea level rise and coastal defence options. The model uses data from the past to simulate coastal system behaviour through historical time to the present day. Initial conditions will be set-up from digitised 18th and 19th century maps and charts showing high water, water depth and the location of channels. The model will then be driven by instrumental, metrological, tidal and fluvial records. These include tides, wind, sea-level, sediment input and river flow. The study focuses on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex which has been monitored by the Environment Agency and English Nature and has maps and charts from 1777 onwards. The model will be applicable to both tide and wave-dominated coastline, and provides essential input to the Tyndall Centre’s Regional Coastal Simulator.

Professor John Dearing and colleagues are designing coastal models that operate at climate change scales in space and time to capture the complex behaviour of coastline environments for informing the Tyndall Centre’s regional coastal simulator

More information
Contact the lead investigator of Project T3.41 (Towards a high resolution cellular model for coastal simulation): Professor John Dearing Department of Geography University of Liverpool Liverpool L69 7ZT Tel: 0151 794 2873 Other researchers involved in this project are: Dr Nicola Richmond and Dr Andrew Plater, Department of Geography, University of Liverpool Dr Judith Wolf, David Prandle, John Williams, Roger Proctor, Alex Souza, Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Birkenhead Professor Andrew Watkinson, Tyndall Centre HQ, University of East Anglia Dr Tom Coulthard, Department of Geography, University of Wales

Useful Websites
Proudman Oceanographic Institute Tyndall Centre’s Sustaining the Coastal Zone research theme Tyndall Centre’s Integrated Regional Coastal Simulator Tyndall Centre’s Calculating the Costs and Benefits of Managed Realignment project Project duration: July 2003 – August 2004

Round 3