Physical and biological dynamic coastal processes and their role in coastal recovery (BLUE-coast)

Lead Research Organisation: National Oceanography Centre
Department Name: Science and Technology

Abstract

The BLUE-coast consortium addresses NERC highlight topic B, Coastal morphology: coastal sediment budgets and their role in coastal recovery. This project will adopt a holistic and multidisciplinary approach, combining the expertise of biologists, coastal engineers, geologists, geomorphologists and oceanographers with complementary experimental (field and laboratory) and numerical skills, to understand what processes control the coastal system dynamics and answer the relevant scientific questions.
BLUE-coast will explicitly address uncertainties in the prediction of medium-term (years) and long -term (decadal and longer) regional sediment budgets and better understand morphological change and how the coast recovers after sequences of events, such as storms by: (i) improving representation of both transportable and source material within the coastal zone within models; (ii) establishing how transportable material is mediated by the ecological system using exemplar habitats representative of the UK coastal zone; (iii) assessing sensitivities of this mixed-sediment physical and biological system to possible changes in external forcing, including the combined impact of multiple variables and sequences of events, with the goal of understanding the internal dynamics of the system (e.g. nonlinearities, critical thresholds, tipping points, precursors and antecedent conditions) in parallel with assessments of behavioural uncertainties, and (iv) reduce uncertainties in medium to long -term prediction of regional sediment budgets and morphological change.
Project Overview: the scope of the Highlight Topic sets a requirement for quantitative knowledge on both physical and biological dynamic coastal processes in order to improve hydrodynamic model predictions of regional sediment budgets and morphological change. To deliver an integrated, holistic and cost effective response, our main activities will combine (i) a detailed study of representative shelf sea landscapes that spans the full variety of organism-sediment conditions typically observed in temperate coasts, with (ii) in situ validation studies of key processes, and (iii) manipulative laboratory and field experiments aimed at unambiguously identifying causal relationships and establishing generality, and (iv) integration of new understanding of controls and effects on coastal morphodynamics at regional scales and under environmental forcing. By undertaking a substantial element of in situ observation and process studies, we will directly quantify the effect of antecedent conditions on coastal erosion and recovery, the effect of biota on mediating sediment fluxes and pathways and the effect of event sequencing on coastal erosion and recovery, across a range of geographically significant sediment habitats. These data will act as calibration and validation datasets for existing and innovative numerical models that will be able to simulate the coastal morphological consequences of key biological and physical drivers, alone and in combination. We will gain mechanistic understanding and achieve generality by performing carefully controlled experiments, generating different flow regimes using flumes, tracking changes during natural events using state-of-the-art field measurement technology and, in the laboratory, using intact sediments and sediment communities exposed to anticipated future conditions (warming, ocean acidification, nutrient loading). As it is not feasible to quantify all the relevant morphodynamic processes at high spatial resolution across the entire UK coast, our approach is to address the principal objectives through 4 interdisciplinary workpackages that follow a logical progression of scientific themes.

Planned Impact

Our research will deliver improved predictions of coastal erosion in different coastal habitats, along with modelling tools to better understand coastal recovery and to understand the implications of climate change for coastal systems. We will provide evidence-based advice for different options for coastal protection and management. We will engage with stakeholders at the national (e.g. Defra, Environment Agency), regional (e.g. District Councils, Internal Drainage Boards, Regional Flood and Coastal Committees) and local level (e.g. community groups, coastal flood fora, the public) using workshops, web-based material, newsletters and an end-of-project roadshow. We will also engage with non-government organisations associated with coastal land management (e.g. National Trust, Crown Estate) or with interests in protecting specific coastal marine species or habitats (e.g. Wildlife Trusts, RSPB). We will produce a series of short accessible videos having adopted the technique successfully before. Management of the project's impacts will be under the newly created Institute for Sustainable Coasts and Oceans at Liverpool. We will produce an annual project newsletter and the communications teams of all institutes will be proactive with regular press releases for both national and regional media opportunities, especially focusing on local media in the three 'coastal type' areas where our fieldwork activities will take place. We will develop a programme of engagement based around interactive activities at community events, visits and school project work and will target 'hard to reach' sectors of the community through exploring partnerships with organizations such as the Active Learning Partnership.
We will disseminate our final results at a mobile roadshow that spend a day at a key location within each Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. This "Moving Coastlines Show" will culminate close to London where we will invite national level stakeholders (e.g. Defra, Environment Agency, Natural England) and stage a question-time style debate. The KE officer (NOC) will work closely with the Knowledge Exchange expertise at each institute to monitor and ensure timely delivery of outreach and impact. Quantitative measures of success will include numbers of people participating in engagement events; participation in our "Moving Coastlines Show"; usage of our online materials; and by using YouTube Analytics for our public outreach material, as well as the number of media articles generated. Policy impact will be gauged by the influence that our work has on strategic environmental planning, but success in this area would be maximized by changes in coastal planning attributable to our project, particularly in the guidance for Shoreline Management Plans.
 
Description Propagation speed of storms has a significant effect on storm impacts at the coast: flooding is increased for slowly propagating storms.

Lateral circulation in estuaries provides a mechanism generating sediment fluxes towards shoals and flats. This can be caused by the curvature of the estuarine channel.
Exploitation Route Our findings on storm impacts could be taken forward by policy makers, coastal engineers and practitioners interested in coastal risk management and provide additional knowledge to refine warning systems.

Our findings on estuarine sediment transport could be taken forward to look into evolution of estuarine morphology. In particular, the impact of curvature on reinforcing shoals/flats would be of interest to port authorities where the navigation channel is curved (e.g. Liverpool). In Liverpool, observations of channel bathymetry and migration are consistent with the mechanism we highlighted.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Transport

 
Description BLUECoast has been invited to help develop the coastal erosion EA Guidelines
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Research and models used in BLUECoast will be used to help advise on future coastal developments
 
Description Meeting with the Exec Director Fife Coast and Countryside Trust
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Importance of biodiversity and ecosystem service delivery enhanced supporting regulatory decision making
 
Title DELFT-3D implementation for UK coastal waters 
Description Delft 3D is currently running barotropic hydrodynamics and sediment transport for the SE and E domains for WP 4 & 2. Mud, sand and gravel fractions have been considered and validation performed against tide gauge data using the Brier score. Winds and pressure are imposed, waves are to be added. Runs are for 2008/2009 (calm) and 2013/2014 (stormy) using a morphological factor to upscale a spring and neap tidal cycle to 100 year period without sea level rise. If required incremental increases in sea level could be added to the still water level applied within the model. This would capture local impacts of sea level rise but not the effects on the conditions forcing the outer boundary. A hindcast is performed to check morphological evolution before simulating projections. A coastal resolution of ~ 200 m in the south becoming finer in the north (~20 m) is used. A nested approach (domain decomposition) enables 2-way exchange of information between grids of different resolution. This provides higher resolution over the Suffolk coast, there are plans for continued nesting at Minsmere and Dungeness to drive the offshore boundary of XBeach(-G) as surfzone dynamics are not included in Delft3D. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Model is just recently been setup, but it will accelerate research on the consortia 
 
Description MegaPex 
Organisation Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have been carrying joint research on the sediment pathways from The Sand Motor, working with TU-Delft, Deltares, NL and University of Washington USA
Collaborator Contribution They have supply superstructure to carry out sediment transport and turbulence measurements
Impact New datasets on sediment transport and turbulence in the Rhine ROFI
Start Year 2013
 
Description MegaPex 
Organisation University of Washington
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have been carrying joint research on the sediment pathways from The Sand Motor, working with TU-Delft, Deltares, NL and University of Washington USA
Collaborator Contribution They have supply superstructure to carry out sediment transport and turbulence measurements
Impact New datasets on sediment transport and turbulence in the Rhine ROFI
Start Year 2013
 
Description Najing University, China 
Organisation Nanjing University (NJU)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Visited Nanjing University and established links with them for future research work and reciprocal visits. College of Harbour, Coastal Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China Paper submitted Hindered erosion: The biological mediation of non-cohesive sediment behaviour X. D. Chen1, C. K. Zhang1, D. M. Paterson2, C. E. L. Thompson3, I. H. Townend4, Z. Gong1, Z. Zhou1 and Q. Feng5,6 Submitted
Collaborator Contribution Discussion of research methods, help in drafting papers and considering interpretation of results
Impact Chen XD, Zhang CK, Zhou Z, Gong Z, Zhou1 JJ, Tao JF, Paterson DM, Feng Q 2017. Stabilizing effects of bacterial biofilms: EPS penetration and redistribution of bed stability down the sediment profile. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, 22: 3113-3125. DOI: 10.1002/2017JG004050 Chen, XD, Zhang, CK, Paterson, DM, Thompson, CEL, Townend, IH, Gong, Z, Zhou, Z & Feng, Q 2017, 'Hindered erosion: the biological mediation of noncohesive sediment behavior' Water Resources Research, vol Early View. DOI: 10.1002/2016WR020105
Start Year 2016
 
Title oceanographic drifter trial 
Description Oceanographic drifters trial - The self-logging GPS drifters developed in 2018 have been used in a research project in Anglet, France, in collaboration with Bordeaux University. The field experiment was designed to study headland by-passing under energetic wave conditions. 
Type Of Technology Detection Devices 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Further collaboration and research 
 
Description Conference presentation - Science based tools informing coastal management in a changing climate 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference presentation at Coastal Dynamics, Helsingør, DK. To share knowledge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description ECSA 57, Flood management trigger levels presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A conference presentation on "Flood management trigger levels" lead to questions and discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description End users meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Practical outputs would include the continued development of the EA guidance documentation. Initial documents have being developed from the iCoasst project with a team at HR Wallingford. Should be available end of 2017. Request to share 1 page model descriptions (Action). EA can share the state of the nation data (SWAN modelling & wave transformations in development with HR Wallingford). These have been provided to Andres and can be share within the project for model boundary conditions / comparison (Action). HR are working on documenting what models are available for coastal management. An approach to build and progress model guidance is required. Information to update the iCoasst documentation would be valuable in a few years.
The EA are using CShore, case study applications to demonstrate its capability will be of interest. Clear routes to work with WP 2.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description EuroMarine Workshop, 2016 Linking biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services: a comparison between temperate and tropical seagrass meadows, Sete.with Claire Gollety 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact European workshop to plan future ITN proposal (in prep)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Invited Keynote Campus Do Mar Oceans Day 2016 One for all.The basis of interdisciplinary Science University of Tras os Montes and Alto Duro, Portugal 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Campus Do Mar Oceans Day 2016, annual event for Ph.d students and marine scientists
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Keynote ISRS , Stuttgart Germany 2016 Form, function and physics D. M. Paterson, J. M. Kenworthy Scottish Ocean Institute, School of Biology, University of St Andrews J. A. Hope, S.U. Gerbersdorf Institute for modelling hydraulic and environmental systems, University of Stuttgart 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact International research conference key note speech highlighting UK research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description LISCO goes to the beach 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Science demos were taken to the Ainsdale Discovery Centre and Crosby beach car park to engage with the public about the research themes in the Liverpool Institute for Sustainable Coasts and Oceans. School groups and beach goers spoke to researchers asking questions. Word clouds were used to capture the knowledge transfer.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Metting with Northwest IFCA. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting with Mandy Knott and Melanie Hartley (both on the science team at IFCA) to discuss physical controls on intertidal habitats in Morecambe Bay and future interaction with the BLUEcoast project. They expressed a keen interest in any results from the project which could help them manage fisheries within the bay and offered assistance with collecting sediment samples.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Morecambe Bay stakeholder visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Visit to Morecambe Bay stakeholders including Lancaster City Council, HolkerEstate, and Natural England to present BLUEcoast project, discuss common areas of interest, and project impact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at Sustainable Earth conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 29/06/18 - Presentation at Sustainable Earth 2018, University of Plymouth: Extreme storms and recovery: the importance of monitoring for sustainable coastal zone management. (GM)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Schools visit; Royal High school edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Explain the broad reach of biological research and potential career using examples of exiting programmes CBESS, COHBED and BLUE-COAST, also presentation by current Ph.D student on blue carbon economy
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Slapton Sands visit and stakeholder engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Visit to field study site to discuss scientific objectives, relevance to stakeholders and future impact. Plans were formulated for future fieldwork.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description WP1 end users meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact To integrate field and model data. To understand processes and test "What If" scenarios (sensitivity testing, climate change scenarios). To effectively communicate and exchange data with stakeholders.
For modellers to understand field data and vice versa
For stakeholders maximise benefits from research output
To build esprit de corps
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description WP2 Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Summarize the scientific elements of the BLUE Coast proposal, paying particular attention to the embedded scientific questions and objectives of WP2. Emphasize the three words or concepts that he recommended stay front and centre for the WP2 group: dynamical-behaviour, resilience, and recovery. These concepts will be tackled over human (decadal) to centennial time-scales and over length-scales that range from several to many tens of kilometres. The time-scale of the BLUE Coast project is 4 years, which limits the amount of time that we have to make new observations. Therefore, we will make as much use of existing data (particularly historical) in order to train and calibrate numerical models of coastal change. The limitations of incomplete data will dictate the types of questions that we can tackle. Partly for this reason, we have chosen to limit ourselves to the use of a few relatively well established models that were developed (or improved) largely in the iCoasst project. In particular, we will use the CoastalME modelling framework that emerged from iCoasst and that enables the coupling of well-known models, including SCAPE, ASMITA, and COVE. In this sense, BLUE Coast has a scientific lineage that can be traced to and beyond iCoasst, and the types of questions and methods that BLUE Coast plan to resolve are a natural extension from those posed in iCoasst. The paper with a full description of CoastalME proof of concept is now under public review (http://www.geosci-model-dev-discuss.net/gmd-2016-264/).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description keynote ISOBAY conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 06/06/18 - Keynote at 16th International Symposium on Oceanography of the Bay of Biscay (ISOBAY), Anglet, France: Coastal morphodynamics under extreme waves along southwest coast of England. (GM)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description meeting CISCAG 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 07/08/18 - CISCAG meeting (Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Coastal Advisory Group, Bodmin
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description meeting with landowners 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 22/05/18 - Meeting with Start Bay landowners
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description meeting with local MP 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 14/08/18 - Meeting with Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, to discuss coastal cliff erosion and CCMAs
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description numerous engagements with the press 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact 05/03/18 - Commentary on storm Emma in Western Morning News: 'Storm Emma was 'biggest wave event' for a decade - expert' (GM)
14/03/18 and 16/03/18 - Segment on Spotlight BBC1 program ('Impacts of Storm Emma) (GM)
24/04/18 - Press release 'Winter wave heights and extreme storms on the rise in Western Europe' (GM)
25/04/18 - Story in Scottish Times ('Coastal towns are facing a battering by bigger waves') (GM)
25/04/18 - Story in Western Morning News ('Battering from storms has been getting worse for past 70 years') (GM)
25/04/18 - Story in Herald (Plymouth) ('Waves battering coast are getting bigger') (GM)
25/04/18 - Story ScienceNewsline ('Winter wave heights and extreme storms on the rise in Western Europe') (GM)
26/04/18 - Article on Mashable ('Waves in Europe are getting higher, threatening coastal residents' (GM) https://mashable.com/2018/04/26/waves-in-europe-are-getting-taller/#d3VIoa5.SOq8
31/05/18 - Story in Fishing News UK ('Waves are getting higher') (GM)
02/11/18 - Press release University of Plymouth ('Scientists support calls for stricter controls on coastal development') (GM/TS) https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/pr-opinion/scientists-support-calls-for-stricter-controls-on-uk-coastal-developments
07/11/18 - Press release Cambridge University ('Opinion: Methods for protecting England's coastal communities 'not fit for purpose') (TS/GM) https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/discussion/opinion-methods-for-protecting-englands-coastal-communities-not-fit-for-purpose
09/11/18 - Opinion piece in Western Morning News ('Coastal communities face big challenges from climate change') (GM with Tom Spencer)
14/11/18 - Story in Western Morning News ('West beaches are still recovering from past winter storm battering') (GM)
14/11/18 - Story in the Herald Express (Torquay) ('Beaches are still recovering from storm battering') (GM)
17/11/18 - Contribution of story in IndiaSpend ('Homes disappear, walls crumble as India's coasts - battered By human activity - are now ravaged by climate change') (GM) https://www.indiaspend.com/homes-disappear-walls-crumble-as-indias-coasts-battered-by-human-activity-are-now-ravaged-by-climate-change/
28/11/18 - live interviews Radio Devon and Radio Cornwall: Beaches still not recovered from 2013/14 storms. (GM)
29/11/18 - Letter Guardian ('Coastal Flooding') (GM and Tom Spencer)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description presentation at College of Charleston 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 22/10/18 - Presentation at College of Charleston, South Carolina, USA: Extreme storm impacts and post-storm recovery along the Atlantic coast of England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description presentation at PCO meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 17/10/18 - Presentation at PCO Annual Partner's Meeting, Exeter: Full embayment rotation: Multimethod surveys at Start Bay. (MW)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description presentation at Slapton Field Studies Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 24/11/18 - Presentation at Slapton Field Studies Centre: Coastal impact of the Beast from the East. (JMC)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description presentation for Society for Underwater Technology South West 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 29/11/18 - Society for Underwater Technology South West Evening Meeting, Invited Seminar, UK: Coastal measurements from aerial drones. (TS)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description presentation to local residents Start Bay 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 01/05/18 - Presentation at Stokingham Village Hall: Short- and long-term dynamics within Start Bay and impacts of Storm Emma. (JMC/OB)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description presentation university of Algarve 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 27/09/18 - Presentation for Marine and Coastal Systems MSc Programme, University of Algarve: Variability in the northeast Atlantic wave climate and its influence on annual-to-decadal beach dynamics. (GM)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description seminar Auckland university 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 13/04/18 - Presentation at School of Environment, Auckland University: Variability in the northeast Atlantic wave climate and its influence on annual-to-decadal beach dynamics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description seminar Netherlands Centre for Coastal Research 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 22/03/18 - Keynote at Netherlands Centre for Coastal Research conference (NCK days), Haarlem, the Netherlands: Variability in the northeast Atlantic wave climate and its influence on annual-to-decadal beach dynamics. (GM)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018