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Broad-scale (regional to global) assessment of coastal flooding and sea-level rise (NICHOLLSRU20SCID)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The flooding of coastal areas given sea-level rise is an emotive issue that is often covered in the media with sometimes apocalyptic perspectives. It is certain that hundreds of millions of people are threatened worldwide, but in addition to flood sources such as sea-level rise, flood pathways and receptors need to be considered. This PhD will focus on an understanding of the coastal flood system given sea-level rise, with a strong perspective on appropriate representation of flood pathways and inundation extent in broad-scale assessments. To date, many studies have adopted a bath-tub view of inundation which tends to overestimate impacts. At the other extreme, much more sophisticated flood spreading approaches are being applied at broad scales, such as across Europe’s coasts. While now possible with growing computer power, they remain computationally expensive which limits their application. Hence in this PhD, the candidate will assess and compare a variety of methods for computing flood inundation and linking these to different policy and user questions. This will provide a basis for selecting the most appropriate method in any analysis, which is tailored to the question in hand. Increasing application of these approaches is expected as concerns about climate change and sea-level rise grow.

More information on the supervisor for this project:
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: October 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 3 years

Entry requirements;
Acceptable first degree in Environmental Science, Physical Geography, Mathematics, Engineering, especially Civil Engineering. The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1


1. Fang, J., Lincke, D. Brown, S., Nicholls, R.J., Wolff, C., Merkens, J.L., Hinkel, J. et al. (2019) Coastal flood risks in China through the 21st century–An application of DIVA. Science of the Total Environment 704, 135311, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135311
2. Muis, S., Verlaan, M., Nicholls, R., Brown, S., Hinkel, J., Lincke, D., et al. (2017). A comparison of two global datasets of extreme sea levels and resulting flood exposure. Earth's Future. DOI: 10.1002/2016EF000430
3. Wahl, T., Haigh, I. D., Nicholls, R. J., Arns, A., Dangendorf, S., Hinkel, J., & Slangen, A. B. A. (2017). Understanding extreme sea levels for broad-scale coastal impact and adaptation analysis. Nature Communications, 8, [16075]. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms16075
4. Hinkel, J., Lincke, D., Vafeidis, A. T., Perrette, M., Nicholls, R. J., Tol, R. S. J., et al. (2014). Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222469111
5. Hallegatte, S., Green, C., Nicholls, R. J., & Corfee-Morlot, J. (2013). Future flood losses in major coastal cities. Nature Climate Change, 3, 802-806. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1979

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