Advanced numerical techniques to assess erosion/flood risk in the coastal zone

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Mathematics

Abstract

Supervisors: Matthew Piggott (Lead supervisor, Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Imperial College London) and Colin Cotter (Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London). Industry supervisor: Dr Catherine Villaret (East Point Geo Consulting).

An estimated 250 million people live in regions that are less than 5 metres above sea level. Hence with sea level rise and an increase in both the frequency and severity of storms as a result of climate change, the coastal zone is becoming an ever more critical location for the application of advanced mathematical techniques. Models are currently used to assist in the design of coastal zone engineering projects including flood defences and marine renewable energy arrays. There are many challenges surrounding the development and application of appropriate coupled numerical models because they include both hydrodynamic and sedimentary processes and need to resolve spatial scales ranging from sub-metre to 100s of kilometres.
My project aims to develop and use advanced numerical modelling and statistical tools to improve the understanding of hazards and the quantification and minimisation of erosion and flood risk. Throughout this project, I will consider the hazards in the context of idealised as well as real world scenarios.
The main model I will use in my project is XBeach, which uses simple numerical techniques to compute dune erosion, scour around buildings and overwash. XBeach is also currently used, to a limited degree, with Monte Carlo techniques to generate a large number of storm events with different wave climate parameters. Uncertain atmospheric forcing is very important in erosion/scour processes and flood risk, which are intimately linked in many situations and cannot be considered in isolation. In my project I will explore how the new technique of Multi-level Monte Carlo simulations can be combined with XBeach to quantify erosion/flood risk. I am not only interested in the effects of extreme events, but also the cumulative effect of minor storm events for which Monte Carlo techniques are particularly appropriate. I will also explore how an adaptive mesh approach can be coupled with the statistical approach to assess the risk to coastal areas.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R512540/1 01/10/2017 31/03/2022
1924598 Studentship EP/R512540/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Mariana Clare
 
Title Sediment Transport model 
Description This model is a sediment transport model which models both bedload transport and suspended sediment transport built using Thetis and the code-generating framework Firedrake. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This model shows significant improvements over the industry standard model (see the following publication for more details 10.31223/osf.io/tpqvy) 
URL https://github.com/mc4117/morphodynamic_model
 
Description Imperial Festival/Imperial Lates: Xmaths 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I have participated in several different Imperial College London general public outreach events. At these events, I have been part of a team running a stall designed to explain the research we do as part of the Mathematics of Planet Earth CDT to members of the general public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/festival/
 
Description Presentation to University of Birmingham Mathematics Undergraduate society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact I gave an invited talk on my PhD research to the University of Birmingham Mathematics Undergraduate society to give them a better idea of what a Mathematics PhD involves. Several audience members spoke to me after the talk to ask for more information about my research and about life as a PhD student.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description School Visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I was part of a small group who gave a presentation about the Mathematics of Machine Learning to a group of 40 school pupils at Lambeth Academy. I also spoke a little about how mathematical research can be used in weather prediction. The school told us that there had been an increased interest from the pupils in understanding how mathematics can be used in real world applications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Why It Rained Today Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I have written several blogs on the official Mathematics of Planet Earth CDT blog page, aimed at explaining climate change and renewable energy to the general public. The links for these blogs can be found here:
https://whyitrainedtoday.co.uk/index.php/2018/11/29/how-renewable-are-renewables-really/
https://whyitrainedtoday.co.uk/index.php/2019/01/07/recycling-plastic-bags-wont-stop-climate-change/
https://whyitrainedtoday.co.uk/index.php/2019/06/25/les-gilets-jaunes/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://whyitrainedtoday.co.uk/index.php/author/mariana/