At the international conference Coastal Dynamics 2013, held last June in Arcachon, France, the paper ‘Long-Term Performance of Process-Based Models in Estuaries’ by Gerard Dam, Mick van der Wegen and Dano Roelvink, was awarded the 'Best Student Paper' award. Gerard Dam is a part-time PhD student at UNESCO-IHE, Van der Wegen and Prof. Roelvink are academic staff members.
Morphological models' prediction skills increase over time
In the paper, Gerard Dam simulated 110 years of past development of the morphology of the Western Scheldt using a process-based, numerical model and validated this against detailed observations. He concluded, against common perceptions, that the skill of such models in long-term predictions can actually increase with time.
In the first decades, a model may be adjusting to errors in initial conditions, but after more time, apparently, the longer-term trends are picked up correctly. This is an important finding, supporting the use of advanced morphological models in predicting effects of e.g. sea level rise or local human interference.
The photo used in this article is the work of magnetismus.