To climate-proof the coast, we need to gain more insight into the lower part of the coast, the so-called lower shoreface (water depths between approx. 8 and 20 m), which is an essential link between the offshore seabed and the coastal zone. The lower shoreface is an important natural sediment source that determines the response of the coast to rising sea levels. UT researcher Jebbe van der Werf (Faculty of ET and working at knowledge institute Deltares) was awarded a NWO grant for the research proposal MELODY (NWO is the Dutch Research Council): Modeling Lower Shoreface Seabed Dynamics for a Climate-Proof Coast.
The lower shoreface plays a key role in the way in which offshore human activities (e.g. offshore wind farms, sand extraction) affect the beaches and dunes that we all love so much.
We know little about the processes that move sand in the landward and seaward directions that together produce a subtle but essential net transport of sand. The same applies to the intriguing interactions between bedforms, in particular sand waves. This project improves our understanding of the dynamics of the lower shoreface. High-quality field data is combined with several new numerical models. These models help coastal management to estimate the consequences of climate change (such as rising sea levels) and to devise measures. And to find suitable locations for offshore sand extraction and wind farms. This helps us facilitate the energy transition in harmony with other activities on the seabed.
The project enables fundamental research into sand transport and coastal morphodynamics (2 PhD students). It uses the new insights to answer practical questions related to climate change and human disturbances in coastal seas, the North Sea in particular (1 Post-Doc researcher). This involves researchers and users from: University of Twente, Deltares, Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management), Arcadis, Van Oord, Primo Marine, Royal HaskoningDHV, Hydrographic Office, Tennet, WaterProof and Witteveen+Bos.
The NWO domain of Applied and Technical Sciences honoured six projects within the Open Technology Program (OTP), see here.