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Nearshore Monitoring and Modelling:
Inter-scale Coastal Behaviour

Final Report Summary - NEMO (Nearshore Monitoring and Modelling:Inter-scale Coastal Behaviour)

The NeMo project aims to achieve significant progress in long term, large scale coastal change forecasting. Such progress in forecasting is intended to be used for the mitigation of current and future coastal erosion problems for the increasing amount of people living in coastal areas.

The research is based on 2 main steps:
1. Gain unprecedented insights into the complex, non-linear interactions and feedbacks amongst micro-, meso-, and macro-scale processes operating in natural coastal environments via a dedicated and innovative field campaign, analysis of existing macro-scale field data, and strategic process based numerical modelling
2. Use the insights gained to develop, verify and apply (at several locations around the world) of an innovative, generic, physics based scale-aggregated numerical model capable of providing robust forecasts of large scale, long term coastal change.

Regarding the first step, a team of 3 PhD students and 3 Postdocs have organized the collection of field data in a 20 km (alongshore) coastal cell at the Dutch Coast. Field data that were collected consist of systematic temporal measurements of dynamic coastal morphology (foreshore, beach and dune area) along the coastal cell for a period of 5 years. These systematic measurements have resulted in an unprecedented high resolution dataset of coastal morphology. These measurements were complemented by specific in-situ field measurements (for limited periods of time) that focused explicitly on the governing processes of dynamic coastal morphology (winds, waves, tides and moprhological feedbacks). In-situ field measurements were executed in the combined and 2 interdisciplinary field campaigns. STRAINS (STRAtification Impacts on Nearshore Sediment transport) and MEGAPEX (MEGA Perturbation EXperiment) took place halfway the NeMo project providing the required data for understanding and forecasting inter-scale coastal behavior. Using the collected field data, new conceptual models with respect to sediment transport processes and coastal morphology in the combined marine and aeolian domain of the coastal zone were developed.

The developed concepts and collected data have been the basis for tangible generic numerical implementations of processes. Initially, several specific models for specific processes (wind driven sediment transport, sediment transport through tidal flow, waves) and coastal domains (foreshore, surf zone, aeolian zone) were developed. In a subsequent effort, the developed numerical models were combined in a coupling framework that was used to built an unprecedented comprehensive model for forecasting coastal morphology.

In the coastal cell that was considered during this research, there was a notable anomaly that positively influenced both the data collection as well as the development of the modelling. The Sand Engine, a large sediment nourishment of 21 Million cubic meters was implemented in the very middle of the coastal cell. This nourishment has drastically influenced the sediment dynamics in the coastal cell especially enhancing the signal to noise ratio in the measured process response. The presence of this unique signal has allowed the team to unravel specific scale overarching aspects of the development of coastal morphology rendering a the most unique and comprehensive data set and modeling suite that are currently available to the field of coastal morphology and engineering.

For additional information, including visual footage of the field campaigns, we encourage you to visit the institutional website on the NEMO project: