Physical and biological dynamic coastal processes and their role in coastal recovery (BLUE-coast)
BLUEcoast combines the expertise of biologists, coastal engineers, geologists, geographers, and oceanographers with complementary field, laboratory and numerical skills, to understand the processes controlling the dynamics of our coastal systems.
Using case study sites across England we aim to inform shoreline management by reducing uncertainties in the prediction of medium-term (years) and long -term (decadal and longer) regional sediment budgets, morphological change and how the coast recovers after sequences of storm events. As it is not feasible to quantify all the relevant morphodynamic processes at high spatial resolution across the entire UK coast, we focus on a number of different coastal systems representing:
- Exposed (high energy) sandy coast with rocky headlands (SW England).
- Partially-exposed (medium-wave energy) sand-shingle coast, with soft rock cliffs and subtidal sediments (E England, Suffolk coast).
- Mixed sand-mud coasts and estuaries (NW England, Morecambe Bay; & E England, Essex estuaries).
Our aim is to develop an integrated modelling tool that will be used to evaluate coastal resilience and scope alternative management options along managed coastlines with critical Energy infrastructure (SE England, Dungeness foreland & E England, Minsmere nature reserve).
This project is funded by NERC in response to a Highlight Topic call. It is a consortium involving many groups in the UK, and is being led by NOC. I am the overall PI for the project.
Land Ocean Carbon Transfer (LOCATE)
Salt intrusion: Understanding the Pearl River Estuary by Modelling and field Experiments (SUPREME)
Saltwater intrusion in deltas and estuaries results from the complex interaction between water and salt dynamics, and is affected by climate change and human intervention. In the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) in China, these changes endanger freshwater availability affecting over 40 million people. PRE’s complex shape (geometry and bathymetry) makes salt intrusion processes inherently three-dimensional. However, as previous research was mainly restricted to longitudinal variability, current knowledge is insufficient to unravel the interwoven longitudinal and lateral salt transport mechanisms.
The overall aim of the SUPREME project is to understand these three-dimensional salt transport mechanisms, and their sensitivity to variations in external forcing and local geographic shape. The knowledge and tools developed/applied in this project will help assess the effectiveness of possible measures to alleviate undesired changes in salt intrusion.
This project is a collaboration between the NOC, the Delft University of Technology (Dr Henk Shuttelaars), and Sun Yat-sen University (Prof. Wenping Gong). It is co-funded by EPSRC through the Newton Fund in the UK, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, NSFC.
Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry NERC Research Programme
The aim of the programme is to reduce the uncertainty in our understanding of nutrient and carbon cycling within the shelf seas, and of their overall role in global biogeochemical cycles. The programme will also provide effective policy advice and make a significant contribution to the Living With Environmental Change programme.
I am involved in the benthic and in the modelling work packages.
Biogeochemistry, macronutrient and carbon cycling in the benthic layer: This project is a consortium of leading scientists that includes microbiologists, ecologists, physical oceanographers, biogeochemists, mathematical modellers and policy advisors. With assistance from organisations like CEFAS, Marine Scotland and AFBI, they will carry out a series of research cruises around the UK that will map the sensitivity and status of seabed habitats based on their physical condition, the microbial and faunal communities that inhabit them, and the size and dynamics of the nitrogen and carbon pools found there.
Integrative Modelling for Shelf Seas Biogeochemistry: The overarching scientific goal is to enhance our capacity to assess the controls on biogeochemical cycling and hence to quantify with uncertainties the budgets of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and silicon including their response to climate, natural variability and anthropogenic stress. The underpinning strategic goal is to develop a new shelf seas biogeochemical model system, coupled to a state of the art physical model, capable of predicting regional impacts of environmental change from days to decades. We will establish a new common model version for the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM), drawing from the combined expertise of the partners.
Interactions of flow, tidal stream turbines and local sediment bed under combined waves and tidal conditions (INSTRON)
Computational and laboratory modelling studies will be carried out (i) to investigate the fundamental processes controlling the complex flow-TST-sediment interactions and (ii) to improve practical prediction methods that can be used not only by engineers in full-scale TST planning and design but also by regulatory authorities monitoring environmental and ecological consequences of installing TST arrays. The research will take a systematic, multidisciplinary, evidence-based approach involving analysis, physical model experiments and numerical modelling components to address and delineate the key processes affecting the sea bed response to TST placements in coastal waters.
iCOASST: Integrating coastal sediment systems
The iCOASST project will help forecast what the UK’s coastline will look like in the future, up to 100 years’ time.
This four-year project brings together a number of UK universities, research laboratories and leading consultants, to develop new methods that will characterise and forecast long-term changes to coastal sediment systems. This work is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and is partnered by the Environment Agency (EA), who will use these methods to improve long-term flood and erosion risk management.
I am involved in the process-based modelling component of the project.
Multi-dimensional Intra-wave Modelling of coupled Sediment transport and Turbulence
In this project, we will combine existing high-quality experimental data with state-of-the-art modelling approaches in order to assess and improve the current representation of near-bed turbulence and sediment transport over rippled beds in coastal-scale models.