Dano Roelvink PhD, MSc

Professor of Coastal Engineering and Port Development


Prof. Roelvink has 36 years of experience in coastal engineering and research. He has participated as team member and as project manager in a number of major consultancy projects related to coastal morphology. He has managed the development of the Delft3D model system for two- and three-dimensional simulation of waves, currents, water quality, ecology and morphodynamics, and has heavily contributed to development of the morphological part of this system. He has been actively involved in the EU-sponsored MaST-G6M and MaST-G8M, SASME, COAST3D, DELOS and MICORE research projects on coastal morphodynamics and has recently participated in Risc-KIT. 

In 1993 he obtained a PhD-degree at Delft University of Technology, based on a thesis on the effect of surf beats on coastal profiles. He has published over 150 articles on coastal hydraulics and morphodynamics in international journals and conference proceedings (Scopus h-index 40), and he has been a part-time Associate Professor at Delft University of Technology from 1990-2005 and presently holds an honorary Professorship there.

Since 2005 he has been Head of the Chairgroup Coastal Systems & Engineering and Port Development at UNESCO-IHE, now IHE Delft; since then this group has grown quickly in staff, students, research and societal impact. He is a strong proponent of international scientific cooperation with various parties in order to further the state-of-the-art in morphodynamic modelling and has set up collaborative projects with the US Geological Survey, the US Office of Naval Research, the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as with numerous institutes in France, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Brazil and West-Africa. He has initiated and currently leads the development of XBeach, an open-source model for storm impacts on beaches, dunes, barriers and reef coasts. In 2011 he published a bestselling 'Guide to modeling coastal morphology' with World Scientific. 

Research Summary

My field of expertise is in coastal hydrodynamics and morphodynamics modelling, in one, two or three dimensions. I started my career at Delft Hydraulics doing research on expert systems, coastal profile (CROSTRAN, UNIBEST-TC) and coastline models (UNIBEST-CL), and quickly moved into the development of 2D and 3D hydrodynamic modelling, leading the development of the Delft3D system and contributing heavily to wave-driven currents and coastal morphology within it. While working there I got a PhD on modelling of surf beat and its effect on coastal profiles. Spent decades with students doing validation studies for theoretical, lab and field cases and guided Giles Lesser in the development of the current, 3D morphology version where sediment transport and morphological change are tightly coupled within the flow module. 

After moving (mostly) to IHE Delft I initiated the development of a fully open-source model for storm impacts, XBeach, where our experience with 2D modelling was combined with the realization of the importance of infragravity waves (surf beat) in storm erosion. This model has developed into a de facto standard for dune erosion and barrier overwashing and breaching, but has been extended for use in coral reef environments, ship waves and runup and inundation studies. It is also starting to be applicable to larger timescales, and has been coupled with aeolian components (Duna, Aeolis).

Lately, my work has focused a lot on coastal erosion in countries such as Vietnam, Bangladesh, and several West-African countries. This has been an inspiration for a new approach to coastal planform modelling, using a free-form, vector-based model ShorelineS.


2021 M van Ormondt, A van Dongeren, D Roelvink. A semi-empirical method for computing storm surges on open coasts during tropical cyclones. Coastal Engineering, 103839

2021 DT Nguyen, NG Jacobsen, D Roelvink. Development and Validation of Quasi-Eulerian Mean Three-Dimensional Equations of Motion Using the Generalized Lagrangian Mean Method. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 9 (1), 76

2021 K Kombiadou, S Costas, D Roelvink. Simulating Destructive and Constructive Morphodynamic Processes in Steep Beaches. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 9 (1), 86

2020 VQ Thanh, D Roelvink, M van der Wegen, LX Tu, J Reyns, VTP Linh. Spatial topographic interpolation for meandering channels. Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering 146 (5), 040200241.

2020 H Elmilady, M Van Der Wegen, D Roelvink, A van der Spek. Morphodynamic evolution of a fringing sandy shoal: From tidal levees to sea level rise. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 125 (6), e2019JF005397

2020 D Roelvink, B Huisman, A Elghandour, M Ghonim, J Reyns. Efficient modeling of complex sandy coastal evolution at monthly to century time scales. Frontiers in Marine Science 7, 535.

2020 M van Ormondt, TR Nelson, CJ Hapke, D Roelvink. Morphodynamic modelling of the wilderness breach, Fire Island, New York. Part I: Model set-up and validation. Coastal Engineering 157, 103621, 2020

2020 H Zhu, L Zuo, J Reyns, Y Lu, A Dastgheib, D Roelvink. Morphologic modelling of tidal inlet on a barrier-lagoon coast: Case study of the Laolonggou tidal inlet in the Bohai Bay. Applied Ocean Research 94, 101967, 2020

2019 M van der Wegen, JA Roelvink, BE Jaffe. Morphodynamic Resilience of Intertidal Mudflats on a Seasonal Time Scale. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 124 (11), 8290-8308, 2019

2019 M Bendoni, IY Georgiou, D Roelvink, H Oumeraci. Numerical modelling of the erosion of marsh boundaries due to wave impact. Coastal Engineering 152, 103514, 2019

2019 L Zuo, D Roelvink, Y Lu. The mean suspended sediment concentration profile of silty sediments under wave-dominant conditions. Continental Shelf Research 186, 111-126, 2019

2019 VQ Thanh, J Reyns, SP Van, DT Anh, TD Dang, D Roelvink. Sediment transport and morphodynamical modeling on the estuaries and coastal zone of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Continental Shelf Research 186, 64-76, 2019

2019 D Roelvink, S Costas. Coupling nearshore and aeolian processes: XBeach and Duna process-based models. Environmental Modelling & Software 115, 98-112

2019 A Rodriguez Enriquez, M Marcos Moreno, A Falques, D Roelvink. Assessing beach and dune erosion and vulnerability under sea level rise: a case study in the Mediterranean Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science 6, 4.

2019 H Elmilady, M van der Wegen, D Roelvink, BE Jaffe. Intertidal Area Disappears Under Sea Level Rise: 250 Years of Morphodynamic Modeling in San Pablo Bay, California. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 124 (1), 38-59

2018 U SN Best, M van der Wegen, J Dijkstra, PWJM Willemsen, BW Borsje, Dano Roelvink. Do salt marshes survive sea level rise? Modelling wave action, morphodynamics and vegetation dynamics, Environmental Modelling & Software, 2018/8/10, Elsevier.

For all Dano Roelvink's publications check out research gate.


Google Scholar


Other information


2017 International Coastal Engineering Award from the Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute (COPRI) of the American Society of Civil Egineers for ''his tremendous contributions in leadership and development of the theory and modeling of coastal morphodynamics, and for his role as an international educator in the field of coastal dynamics.”

2019 Coastal Award at the Coastal Sediments 2019 conference in St Petersburg, Florida.

2020 World Bank WACA Innovation Award winning prize for proposal to build WACApp, an interactive app to simulate coastline evolution and to evaluate management options, together with HKV Lijn in Water.

Recent Webinars

Coast2Coast Webinar Predicting future coastal behaviour: can we do it? 

IHE Delft Alumni Online Seminar: Coastal evolution and management 

S2S21-06 Numerical modeling of decadal, large-scale evolution of deltas 


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