Vectors, rasters and voxels: how to simulate evolving digital terrain models of the coast

Currently, coastal flooding in the UK costs £320m annually: this is 24% of the total Expected Annual Damage due to all sources of flooding. Scenario analyses of future coastal flood risk are hindered by a useful but over-simple assumption: that of non-evolving coastal morphology (aka ‘bathtub analysis’). To move forward, we urgently need a new generation of simulation models. These must be able to capture the dynamic behaviour of UK coastlines: in particular, coastal responses to human interventions such as removal of hard defences, mega beach nourishments, etc.

Drawing on insights from a wide range of modelling and model integration approaches, Andres Payo and David Favis-Mortlock argue that it is time to rethink the way we conceptualize the evolving coastal landscape, and present a new framework for representing dynamic coastline behaviour: CoastalME (Coastal Modelling Environment).

About the speakers
Andres Payo leads the research on coastal resilience and geohazards at the British Geological Survey. He is a former member of staff of the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University and is the principal driving force behind CoastalME. David Favis-Mortlock, is an Honorary Research Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, with a background in geomorphological modelling, particularly self-organisation of complex systems.