WP1 - Systems Modelling Framework

The need to relate meso-scale landform behaviour to attendant changes in flood and erosion risk requires an integrated framework for the conceptualisation and modelling of coastal change. This can only be achieved through systems-level understanding that incorporates the complex responses of coupled landforms to changes in hydrodynamics and sediment supply, as well as the interaction of estuarine, coastal and offshore sedimentary systems that have hitherto been studied in isolation. Whilst the systems concept has long been central to geomorphology, there is a clear need for a new phase of research to formalise scientific understanding of disparate sedimentary processes and individual landform dynamics into a consistent and standardised framework to underpin the deployment of a new generation of predictive coastal morphodynamic models.

The systems modelling framework to be developed here is based upon the following abstractions of coastal system behaviour, each of which is developed here and further in subsequent WPs:

1. Coastal systems mapping (WP1.2), building upon approaches developed by [8] in recent EA-funded research [18], provides a generalised conceptual understanding and representation of the coastal system. Conceptual systems mapping is informed by analysis of sediment transport pathways using empirical analyses of offshore data and process-based area models (WP1.3).

2. Behavioural systems modelling (WP2.2, 2.3) involves development and coupling of a range of reduced complexity (RC) and stochastic models of meso-scale landform behaviour. Whilst the approach is proven (eg. coupling of SCAPE and ASMITA [19], it requires generalising to a wider range of landforms and their interactions.

3. Process-based modelling (WP1.3) provides understanding of hydrodynamic forcings that drive coastal change. It helps validate conceptual modelling (WP1.2) and provides boundary conditions for the behavioural models (WP2.2, 2.3). Process-based modelling can also utilise downscaled outputs of GCMs and RCMs to simulate the impacts of changing climate drivers, as well as changing sediment budgets due to changing management.

WP1.1 Framework Development

This WP will formally define the overarching systems framework that integrates the various conceptual, behavioural and physically-based approaches.By integrating these three levels of abstraction, we seek to exploit their various benefits whilst circumventing their limitations.  Work will begin by revisiting existing sets of definitions and formalising these into a common ontology for the project. A core set of output indictors that are relevant to coastal decision makers will be developed in consultation with coastal practitioners. These will incorporate both quantitative (eg. shoreline position, transport rate, profile, elevation, width, volume/area change) and indicative (eg. change of state and configuration, breaching potential, habitat transitions) indicators for geomorphic system components, presented in graphical and map form, with uncertainty estimates.

WP1.2 Coastal System Mapping Methodology and Tools

This WP will develop the coastal system conceptual framework and associated Coastal System Mapping (CSM) methodology that was piloted to proof of concept stage under EA-SC060074. We will 

i) refine the coastal system conceptual framework to more explicitly incorporate previous coastal system work

ii) refine the CSM methodology, taking account of advances in knowledge formalisation and knowledge computing, and building on the overarching system framework developed in WP 1.1.

iii) produce operational CSM software that improves on our earlier ‘proof-of-concept’ application (based on CmapTools).

iv) develop new methods for directly analysing system maps.

v) extend the scope of CSM from existing pilot studies (e.g., Suffolk) to cover estuary-coast-offshore linkages for all of England and Wales

WP1.3 Coastal Area Analysis

WP1.3 aims to determine long-term large-scale residual sediment pathways, and associated deposition and erosion maps within coastal domains. The domains will be within the Northwest European shelf (depths <200m). The results will both validate and feed quantitative information into the coastal system framework developed and mapped under WP1.1 and 1.2, and boundary conditions for models developed in WP2.2 and 2.3. WP1.3 will be approached through physically-based numerical models that take into account tides, waves, wind and surge and nearshore/offshore features.  Modelling will be undertaken at two levels: 1) 3D POLCOMS including baroclinic effects; 2) 2D TELEMAC in depth-averaged form.

WP 1.4 Software System Integration

The provision of a robust integrated modelling interface is a necessary step towards ensuring that the new models developed within the project can be linked and run successfully. The integrated modelling process will use a systematic approach: (i) identifying which models are to be linked with OpenMI in the first stages of the project, (ii) make each code OpenMI-compliant (if they are not already), (iii) validation to ensure that the results of the integrated models are accurate and stable, (iv) combine multiply-linked models together where appropriate, e.g. to aim towards coastal erosion and flooding of test cases in WP3.

WP2 - Development of Behavioural Geomorphic Models page
WP3 - Application and Validation
WP4 - Pathway to Impact page