Webinar: Coastal evolution and management: a new tool to understand the past and future

Webinar: Coastal evolution and management: a new tool to understand the past and future



4 July 2019 



Sandy beaches are extremely valuable natural resources, providing a first line of defence against coastal storm impacts, as well as other ecosystem services such as ecological habitats and recreation areas. They often are an important part of nations’ heritage.  However, many of the world’s coastlines suffer erosion, due to interruption of sand flows from upstream and alongshore, sand mining and sea-level rise effects, especially in the vicinity of tidal inlets. As a result, the safety of ever-increasing populations against hazards such as overtopping, inundation and erosion is seriously undermined. A lack of reliable, widely usable models makes it difficult to develop sound, science-based strategies for managing complex sandy coasts. While the physics of beaches have been studied extensively and Delft has a strong reputation in developing useful models that are use worldwide, these are often too complex and time-expensive to use for engineering application at larger scales; other models are too simple to represent interesting cases such as sandy barriers, spits, spiral beaches and migrating tidal inlets and river mouths.

At IHE Delft, in collaboration with Deltares, we have recently developed a radically new method, ShorelineS, to hindcast and forecast coastline evolution. Though it is based on a relatively simple representation of wave-driven transport, the representation of the coastline as strings of coastline points that can freely develop and move about gives is a powerful behaviour that allows us to rapidly model coastal planform evolution, for cases ranging from the development of the Sand Engine to development of spits and from a moving river mouth in Senegal to moving barrier islands in Portugal and Alaska.

Input and calibration data for such modelling are available at an unprecedented scale (e.g. satellite imagery-derived coastlines) alongside ever more detailed global models and datasets of forcing conditions (wave climate, tides). This allows you to develop and calibrate a model of your own situation based on past observations, and then to simulate the future given a range of scenarios.

Though still under development, we believe a system can be developed where engaged citizens can analyse and simulate the coastal development in their areas, can see how human impact has altered their coast and what are sensible strategies to cope with increasing population pressure and climate change.

In the webinar professor Roelvink will first take you on a little tour along typical coasts, where we’ll see how even before climate change is kicking in we are facing serious problems, and how this may be exacerbated by sea level rise and changes in wind and wave climate. But, being engineers, we will not rest there, but try to work with a mix of solutions, hard and soft, nature-based where possible. Prof. Roelvink will show how a model like ShorelineS can play an important role in the evaluation of the problem and of possible solutions and he will to pick your brain on how you envisage tools like this being used, and what ideas you have for directions they could develop towards.


About the Speaker

Prof. Roelvink has 33 years of experience in coastal engineering and research. He has participated as team member and as project manager in a number of major consultancy projects related to coastal morphology. He has managed the development of the Delft3D model system for two- and three-dimensional simulation of waves, currents, water quality, ecology and morphodynamics, and has heavily contributed to development of the morphological part of this system. He has been actively involved in the EU-sponsored MaST-G6M and MaST-G8M, SASME, COAST3D, DELOS and MICORE research projects on coastal morphodynamics and currently participates in Risc-KIT. His field of expertise is in coastal hydrodynamics and morphodynamics modelling, in one, two or three dimensions. In 1993 he obtained a PhD-degree at Delft University of Technology, based on a thesis on the effect of surf beats on coastal profiles.

He has published over 100 articles on coastal hydraulics and morphodynamics in international journals and conference proceedings (Scopus h-index 28), and he has been a part-time Associate Professor at Delft University of Technology from 1990-2005 and presently holds an honorary Professorship there. Since 2005 he has been Head of the Chairgroup Coastal Systems & Engineering and Port Development at UNESCO-IHE, now IHE Delft; since then this group has grown quickly in staff, students, research and societal impact. He is a strong proponent of international scientific cooperation with various parties in order to further the state-of-the-art in morphodynamic modelling and has set up collaborative projects with the US Geological Survey, the US Office of Naval Research, the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as with numerous institutes in France, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Brazil and West-Africa.

Dano Roelvink has initiated and currently leads the development of XBeach, an open-source model for storm impacts on beaches, dunes, barriers and reef coasts. In 2011 he published a bestselling ‘Guide to modelling coastal morphology’ with World Scientific. In 2017 he received the International Coastal Engineering Award from the Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers for ”his tremendous contributions in leadership and development of the theory and modelling of coastal morphodynamics, and for his role as an international educator in the field of coastal dynamics.

Prof. Roelvink was elected as this year’s Coastal Award recipient for his relentless efforts to develop, publish and promote the use of open-source models for coastal hydrodynamics and morphology, several of which have become worldwide standards. Read more.


This webinar is part of the webinar series: ‘IHE Delft Online Seminars for Alumni and Partners’. IHE Delft organizes the series in cooperation with TheWaterChannel. They are open to everyone.


June 20, 2019  
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