Centre for Coastal Research (CCR)

Current and ongoing research

Rising Climate Change Impacts: Innovative Strategies to Adapt Coastal Systems to High End Scenarios (RISES-AM)

European Union, University of Sussex with University of Southampton.

PI Sussex Richard Tol

The general objective of RISES-AM- is assessing the cross-sectoral and economy-wide impacts and vulnerability of coastal systems at local, regional and global scales, across the full range of representative concentration pathways (RCPs) and shared socio-economic pathways (SSPs). This will be achieved by integrating a series of specific objectives pertaining to four different areas of knowledge:

  1. Adaptive management
  2. Decisions under uncertainty
  3. Dynamic (transient) analyses
  4. Dynamic (transient) analyses
  5. Coastal zone sustainability

Establishing a Predictive Process Response Model for Sea Cliff Risk Management at Brighton

EPSRC iCase studentship, University of Sussex and CH2M HillCo-PI Roger Moore and John Barlow

The primary aim (A1) of the study is to quantify the relaxation curve of sea cliffs defended with seawalls in the proximity of Brighton Marina. In order to accomplish this, we have set the following objectives:

O1: Determine the historical rates of retreat for defended and undefended chalk cliffs of similar characteristics and exposure in the area.
O2: Determine the critical angle of stability for chalk cliffs of differing material properties and structure.
O3: Estimate the time of relaxation from defence installation to the establishment of equilibrium angle in O2 (above).

Our secondary aim (A2) is to establish the effectiveness of current mitigation approaches. This will be accomplished through:
O4: Quantifying the erosional mass flux (rock fall) from cliff faces along the undercliff pathway.
O5: Monitoring of cliff face environmental conditions using thermal and optical cameras mounted in Brighton Marina.

Measuring active layer depth to develop predictive models of mixed sediment beach response to wave energies

NERC Case studentship, University of Sussex with Havant Borough Council and University of Southampton.
PI Cherith Moses, co-I David Picksley, Havant Borough Council, David Sear, University of Southampton.

Mixed sediment beaches (MSBs) with sediment sizes ranging over three orders of magnitude are an increasingly important defence against coastal flooding and erosion. Understanding their dynamics is relevant to the management of more than one third of the shoreline of England and Wales and almost all of the heavily populated SE coast of England. Some 70% of the latter's shoreline has a Hold the Line policy under which marine dredged aggregate (recharge), which is increasingly expensive, is added to maintain adequate beach volumes. Beaches lose sediment via longshore and offshore transport whose accurate quantification is critical to calculating recharge amounts needed for effective beach management. Industry does this using sediment transport modelling which depends on reliable input data and modelling assumptions. Tracer experiments to calculate longshore transport rates, require three measurements: distance travelled by the tracers' centre of mass or volume; thickness of the moving sediment layer (the active layer); width over which transport occurs. On MSBs the latter two are often estimated and considered homogenous across and alongshore. Beach response to waves is controlled largely by permeability and that of MSB is highly variable. Recharging reduces it by introducing a higher proportion of fine sand. Limited field studies of MSB hydraulic conductivity focus on sediment movement mechanisms and profile changes, neglecting active layer depth.

We will combine fluvial and coastal sediment transport theories, using innovative sediment tracer technologies, to understand active layer behaviour to improve model input data and to inform MSB management policy and practice.

Reconstructing the failure chronology of the St Catherine’s Point Landslide Complex using cosmogenic [10Be] and [26Al]

NERC funding provided for 6 samples through the Cosmogenic Isotope Analysis Facility valued at £7 740.

PI: John Barlow; Co-I: Roger Moore

The aim of this pilot study is to reconstruct the failure chronology of the landslide model for the St Catherine’s Point landslide complex. In order to achieve this, we have set the following objectives: (O1) Date the initiation of failure along the current back scarp of the landslide complex using in situ [10Be] and [26Al] measured from samples of chert from the Upper Greensand formation. (O2) Establish the exposure age of chert from the Upper Greensand located in the landward block in order to establish the exposure age of the pre-failure scarp face. (O3) Establish whether the exposure age of detached blocks located on the seaward block is contemporaneous with those identified in O2 (above).