EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L025191/1
Title: Waves Across Shore Platforms
Principal Investigator: Masselink, Professor G
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Marine Science & Engineering
Organisation: University of Plymouth
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2014 Ends: 28 February 2017 Value (£): 264,223
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Coastal & Waterway Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
29 Apr 2014 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 29 April 2014 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Rocky coastlines are generally characterised by cliffs fronted by intertidal shore platforms and occur along 20% of the coastline of England and Wales. These shore platforms tend to be gently-sloping and they invariably represent hydrodynamically very rough surfaces. Cliffs and shore platforms are linked dynamically because the platform characteristics directly control the transformation processes of waves propagating across it, and thus the impact on the cliff and cliff erosion. For rocky shores this transformation process is virtually unstudied. The general aim of this project is to increase both understanding and modelling capability of wave transformation processes across rocky shore platforms. The research will not only benefit the coastal engineering community and contribute to better coastal management and planning, but will also benefit other coastal scientists, including geologists, geomorphologists and ecologists.

Our overarching hypothesis is that the transformation of the wave spectrum across shore platforms is primarily controlled by the elevation, gradient and width of the platform, and the roughness of its surface. We consider that it is feasible to model this wave transformation process, and thus energy delivery to the base of the cliff, using existing numerical wave models after appropriate parameterisation of the bed friction of the platform surface. We further propose that the bed friction of the platform surface can be parameterised based on the characteristics of the shore platform, namely its gradient and roughness (micro-topography).

Our intention is to conduct comprehensive and detailed field measurements of wave transformation across 6 different shore platforms under a range of wave/tide conditions and derive universally valid principles from our observations that better describe and enable the prediction of wave transformation processes across rocky shore platforms. Each of these 8-day experiments will involve deployment of a range of instruments, including pressure sensors to measure waves and water levels, acoustic current meters to record nearshore currents, digital video cameras for monitoring wave breaker patterns and wave runup, a laser scanner for measuring swash dynamics and a terrestrial LiDAR system for making high-resolution measurements of the shore platform topography.

The field data will be used to quantify wave energy dissipation by bed friction and wave breaking, and the dissipation rates will be used to back-calculate wave friction factors using linear wave theory. In turn, the obtained wave friction factors will be correlated to the roughness of the shore platform surface related to the overall morphology and micro-topography. The improved wave friction parameterisation will be implemented in the open-source XBeach numerical model and the model will be used for each of the 6 sites to evaluate the effect of changing sea level to the wave energy delivery to the cliff base to explore the potential effect of rising sea level on coastal cliff recession.

This project involves a multi-disciplinary research team from the Universities of Plymouth, Bangor and Auckland, and Deltares (Netherlands). The project will benefit from the complementary expertise of two oceanographers, two coastal engineers, two physical geographers and one geologist, all with proven track records in research areas that have a direct bearing on the current project: field experimentation, nearshore and surf zone dynamics, rocky coast processes and numerical modelling. The hosting institution also has an experimental infrastructure for studying shallow water oceanographic processes for fieldwork that is second to none in the UK, and is ideally suited to support the proposed research project. The combined strength in research infrastructure and researchers, as well as the relevance of the research topic, makes this a low-risk high-impact project.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.plym.ac.uk