Simulating mesoscale coastal evolution for decadal coastal management: A new framework integrating multiple, complementary modelling approaches

Abstract

Coastal and shoreline management increasingly needs to consider morphological change occurring at decadal to centennial timescales, especially that related to climate change and AC C EP TE D M AN U SC R IP T ACCEPTED MANUSCRIPT 2 sea-level rise. This requires the development of morphological models operating at a mesoscale, defined by time and length scales of the order 10 1 to 10 2 years and 10 1 to 10 2 km. So-called ‘reduced complexity’ models that represent critical processes at scales not much smaller than the primary scale of interest, and are regulated by capturing the critical feedbacks that govern landform behaviour, are proving effective as a means of exploring emergent coastal behaviour at a landscape scale. Such models tend to be computationally efficient and are thus easily applied within a probabilistic framework. At the same time, reductionist models, built upon a more detailed description of hydrodynamic and sediment transport processes, are capable of application at increasingly broad spatial and temporal scales. More qualitative modelling approaches are also emerging that can guide the development and deployment of quantitative models, and these can be supplemented by varied data-driven modelling approaches that can achieve new explanatory insights from observational datasets. Such disparate approaches have hitherto been pursued largely in isolation by mutually exclusive modelling communities. Brought together, they have the potential to facilitate a step change in our ability to simulate the evolution of coastal morphology at scales that are most relevant to managing erosion and flood risk. Here, we advocate and outline a new integrated modelling framework that deploys coupled mesoscale reduced complexity models, reductionist coastal area models, data-driven approaches, and qualitative conceptual models. Integration of these heterogeneous approaches gives rise to model compositions that can potentially resolve decadalto centennial-scale behaviour of diverse coupled open coast, estuary and inner shelf settings. This vision is illustrated through an idealised composition of models for a ~ 70 km stretch of the Suffolk coast, eastern England. A key advantage of model linking is that it allows a wide range of real-world situations to be simulated from a small set of model components. However, this process involves more than just the development of software that allows for flexible model coupling. The compatibility of radically different modelling assumptions remains to be carefully assessed and testing as well as evaluating uncertainties of models in composition are areas that require further attention.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Maanen2015SimulatingMC, title={Simulating mesoscale coastal evolution for decadal coastal management: A new framework integrating multiple, complementary modelling approaches}, author={Barend van Maanen and Robert J. Nicholls and Jon R. French and Andrew Bark and Davide Bonaldo and Helene Burningham and A. Brad Murray and Andres Payo and James Sutherland and Gillian Thornhill and Ian H. Townend and Mick van der Wegen and Mike J.A. Walkden and Andrew Barkwith and Brad Murray}, year={2015} }