Delft, The Netherlands, 08 Jul 2021

Study on shoreline change along inlet-interrupted coastlines published in Nature Scientific Reports

Nature Scientific Reports published a new study in which twenty-first century projects of shoreline change along inlet-interrupted coastlines are outlined. Lead author is Janaka Bamunawala who completed his PhD research at IHE Delft in April last year and is now employed by the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka. Other authors of the study are IHE Delft Professor Rosh Ranasinghe, Trang Duong and Ali Dastgheib.

Holistic model for coastal systems

Sandy coastlines adjacent to tidal inlets are highly dynamic and widespread landforms, where large changes are expected due to climatic and anthropogenic influences. To adequately assess these important changes, both oceanic (e.g., sea-level rise) and terrestrial (e.g., fluvial sediment supply) processes must be considered. The study presents novel projections of shoreline change adjacent to 41 tidal inlets around the world, using a probabilistic, reduced complexity, system-based model that considers catchment-estuary-coastal systems in a holistic way.

Read the article on the Nature Scientific Reports website.

Lead author is Janaka Bamunawala: "I’m coming from a small village in the North-Western part of Sri Lanka. I worked as a lecturer in the University of Moratuwa for seven years before moving to the Netherlands to pursue my PhD. I had a lovely time at IHE Delft, where I had the privilege of associating with profound scientists and other institutes I collaborated with (e.g., Deltares, TU Delft). IHE Delft hosts a unique environment of a truly international flavour, making life in Delft fascinating and enjoyable".

Gaining insights into the behaviour of inlet-interrupted coasts

This publication in Nature is part of Janaka's PhD thesis. For his PhD, he developed this new modelling concept (i.e., G-SMIC) to probabilistically assess the evolution of inlet-interrupted coasts over 50~100 year time scales. It was first applied at selected case study sites as a proof of concept. Then he applied the model to a larger number of systems to gain more insights into the general behaviour of inlet-interrupted coasts.

"A vast majority of the selected inlet-interrupted coasts may erode over the 21st century due to climate change impacts and anthropogenic activities. Although sea-level rise dominates this behaviour (as an oceanic process), terrestrial processes also play an essential role in shaping up the world’s inlet-interrupted coasts", says Janaka Bamunawala.

In the future, Janaka wants to continue his career in academia. "Ever since I started my bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, I wanted to be in academia. I wish to extend my knowledge further and contribute to the scientific community in any possible manner."

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