Experiment-supported modelling of beach-dune evolution in interaction with the built environment

PhD research

Persons involved
Daan W. Poppema, MSc. (PhD candidate)
Prof. dr. Kathelijne M. Wijnberg (daily supervisor, promoter)
Prof. dr. Suzanne J.M.H Hulscher (promoter)

Funding of the project
This project is part of the ShoreScape project (Sustainable co-evolution of the natural and built environment along sandy shores).

Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier

Summary of the research
This PhD project focusses on effects of the built environment on coastal dune development. In the Netherlands and many other places, dunes provide protection against flooding. Simultaneously, this dune area at the land-sea interface is a very attractive place for people to recreate and settle. As a result, sea-side villages and towns have developed right at this interface including buildings on the upper beach, like beach pavilions and (mobile) holiday homes. These buildings near the dune foot influence aeolian sediment transport patterns and thereby shape dune development, the very same dunes that need to offer flood protection. Moreover, to sustainably offer this protection, dunes need an influx of sediment, especially in a situation with sea level rise.  On eroding coasts, shore nourishment is an often applied solution from which an increased  wind-driven sediment influx into the dunes is expected. However, currently little is known about interaction of the wind-driven sand transport and these buildings and its long-term effects on coastal dune development.

The overarching ShoreScape projects aims to the develop knowledge, tools and design principles for sustainable occupation of this dynamic zone at the land-sea interface. This PhD project aims to understand and model how (configurations of) buildings at the beach-dune interface affect Aeolian (windblown) sediment flows and long-term dune development, including the effect of related human activities (e.g. mechanical removal of sand accumulation). A part of the research, scale experiments will be conducted on the beach to determine and validate the erosion/deposition patterns of various building lay-outs. Using this information, beach-dune-building interaction will be included in (cellular automata) models. Furthermore, this model is used to predict the long-term evolution of the coastal landscape.

Coastal built environment, coastal aeolian morphodynamics, beach-dune-building interaction, cellular automata modelling

More info
Daan Poppema 
Room Horst Z203
Tel. +31 53 489 7882 
E-mail d.w.poppema@utwente.nl