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In brief:

The Tyndall Centre

Coastal Simulator
Climate change brings impacts on coastal communities and ecosystems that require a
broad range of adaptations to increased sea levels, changing wave and surge climates
and the resulting coastal erosion, increased flood risk and changes in biodiversity and

We are currently at a key stage in shoreline management planning, with phase 2 being
under way. There is a need to ensure that Shoreline Management Plans (SMPs) are
technically robust, integrating flood risk and coastal erosion in the context of climate
change, spatial planning, habitat
protection and the need for
stakeholder engagement. This brief
describes the work being carried
out by the Tyndall Centre for
Climate Change Research in
partnership with the Environment
Agency to develop a coastal
simulator that addresses these

The simulator allows us to identify

how the future coastline may
evolve by providing a range of
predictions of the future of the coast under
a range of shoreline management options
and climate and socio-economic futures. It
uses sub-cell 3b as a case study for a
method that can be applied more widely;
many of the simulator concepts will be
tested in other coastal regions such as sub-
cell 3a and cell 5.

The simulator is the world's first to produce

a downscaled analysis applied to a coastal
region (in this case Norfolk), linking global
changes to local wave climate and regional
climate scenarios and their consequences.

Earlier work on the simulator integrated

components concerning climate,
hydrodynamics, morphology, ecosystems,
societal resources, scenarios of shoreline
management and flood and erosion risks. More
recent work has added sandbank dynamics and
Maximum wave height during the
1953 surge an agent-based model of urban land use.

Starting with downscaled Global Climate

Models, the regional impacts of future climate
pressures including sea-level rise, and changes
in storm surges and waves are investigated in a
series of linked models. The shoreline erosion
and profile evolution are then investigated by
integrating the process-based SCAPE (Soft Cliff
and Platform Erosion) model with a probabilistic
model of cliff top position, including a range of
management options. This is then coupled with
a flood model to conduct a coastal flood and
erosion risk assessment under the full range of
scenarios. The simulator also included a
graphical user interface which allows a wide range of queries, making the results
available for a variety of purposes, including in the preparation of SMPs.

The results to date quantitatively show that erosion management decisions for the cliffs
control the amount of sediment supplied to down-drift beaches and hence flood risk in
the adjoining coastal lowlands. However, realising the potential benefits of reducing the
length of cliff defences raises important social and political issues which this research is
also addressing.

May, 2007

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