The Tyndall coastal simulator


The threat of sea-level rise and climate change means that coastal managers are being increasingly asked to make long-term assessments of potential coastal impacts and responses. In the UK, shoreline management planning (for flood and erosion hazards) and spatial planning now takes a 100 year perspective. An integrated framework across a wide range of physical and social issues is required for the assessment of coastal impacts and consequently for making sound management decisions. This paper provides an overview of the development of the ‘Tyndall Coastal Simulator’ including the underlying philosophy that is being followed. The Simulator is based on a series of linked climate models (CM) within a nested framework which recognises three spatial scales: (i) the global (GCM) scale; (ii) the regional scale and (iii) the Simulator Domain (a physiographic unit, such as a coastal sub-cell). Within the nesting, the larger scale provides the boundary conditions for the smaller scale. The models feed into each other and describe a range of relevant processes: sea level, tides, surges, waves, sediment transport and coastal morphology. Different climate scenarios, as well as the range of uncertainty, are being explored. Communication of results is a major issue and the Simulator includes a dedicated GIS-based user interface that allows a wide range of queries of model outputs. The paper demonstrates the possibility of developing an integrated framework that is multi-scale and capable of linking various models in order to simulate complex coastal processes and consequently allowing long-term assessments that are useful for setting future management plans.

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We would like to acknowledge the contributions to the development of the Coastal Simulator made by colleagues at the UK Environment Agency in particular Bill Donovan, Julian Wright and Gary Watson. Richard Dawson (Newcastle University), Mark Dickson (University of Auckland), William Sutherland (University of Cambridge), Peter Balson (BGS) and Peter Frew (North Norfolk District Council) have also made valuable contributions.

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Correspondence to Mustafa Mokrech.

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Mokrech, M., Hanson, S., Nicholls, R.J. et al. The Tyndall coastal simulator. J Coast Conserv 15, 325–335 (2011).

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  • Coastal simulation
  • Coastal management
  • Risk assessment
  • Integrated assessment
  • Climate change