Delft, The Netherlands, 04 Dec 2015

Climate change impacts on the stability of small tidal inlets

On 1 December 2015, Ms. Trang Minh Duong successfully presented and defended her PhD thesis entitled 'Climate change impacts on the stability of small tidal inlets' and was awarded with a Doctoral degree. Professor Dano Roelvink and Professor Rosh Ranasinghe were her promotors.

Her PhD research focused on the coastal zones in the vicinity of tidal inlets, which are commonly utilized for navigation, sand mining, waterfront developments, fishing and recreation. They are under particularly high population pressure and will only be exacerbated by foreshadowed climate change (CC). Although a few recent studies have investigated CC impacts on very large tidal inlet systems, the nature and magnitude of CC impacts on the more commonly found small tidal inlets (STIs) remains practically un-investigated to date.

The combination of pre-dominant occurrence in developing countries, socio-economic relevance, low community resilience, general lack of data and high sensitivity to seasonal forcing potentially makes STIs very vulnerable to CC impacts.

This study was undertaken to develop methods and tools that can provide insights on potential CC impacts on STIs and to demonstrate their application to assess these CC impacts. Two process based snap-shot modeling approaches for data poor and data rich environments are used to assess CC impacts and an innovative reduced complexity model is developed to obtain rapid predictions of CC impacts on the STI’s stability.

Results show that STIs are unlikely to change their types, but their stability level is likely to change under CC impacts. The main driver for the change is in fact the future variations in wave directions and not sea level rise as is often thought.


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