WADSnext! Morphodynamic modelling tools for the sustainable management of barrier coasts

PhD research


Persons involved
Ir. Koen R.G. Reef (PhD)
Prof. dr. Suzanne J.M.H. Hulscher (Promotor)
Dr. ir. Pieter C. Roos (daily supervisor)
Dr. Henk M. Schuttelaars (Delft University of Technology, external supervisor)

Summary of the research
While coastal management strives for sustainable management of barrier coasts, the required knowledge basis is still incomplete. The morphodynamics of barrier coasts, and particularly the interaction among the various inlets, are not yet understood. Sustainable management is further complicated by climate change and human intervention as well as conflicting interests (economy, coastal safety, ecology).

The WADSnext!-project aims to explain the long-term morphodynamic development (over decades to centuries) of the inlets and back-barrier basins in a mesotidal barrier coast displaying its inherent dynamics and further subject to environmental and anthropogenic changes. More specifically, we investigate the influences of storm-induced breaches and the geometry/topography of the back-barrier basin. To do this systematically, we adopt a morphodynamic modelling approach, choosing appropriate levels of detail for the physical processes and geometry/topography. This results in a computationally efficient aggregate-scale model of barrier coast dynamics. Validation will be done by comparison with historical data, existing empirical relationships and other observations. The innovation of this project lies in its focus on inlet interaction, the applied modelling techniques (stochastic, aggregated-scale) and its integral, long-term approach. 

In the utilisation part, our new model tools will be applied to support the current policy shift in Wadden Sea management, allowing more natural dynamics. We study the effects of (i) climate change, (ii) coastline changes (land reclamation, retention basins), and (iii) topographic interventions in the backbarrier region (due to dredging or triggered by gas extraction/salt mining). A user group has been formed with users from governmental agencies, technological institutes and engineering consultancies.  

Barrier coasts, multiple inlet stability, morphodynamic modelling, sustainable management, environmental/anthropogenic change, Wadden Sea 

More information
Koen Reef 
Room Horst W-211
Tel. +31 53 489 5325
E-mail k.r.g.reef@utwente.nl