Development and demonstration of systems based ESTuary Simulator: EstSim

Williams, A. and Townend, I. and French, J. and Reeve, D. and Whitehouse, R.J.S. and Bing Wang, Z. and Morris, K. and Surendran, S. (2008) Development and demonstration of systems based ESTuary Simulator: EstSim. In: 43rd Defra Flood and Coastal Management Conference, 1 to 3 July 2008, Manchester University.

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Managing estuaries is an essential part of Flood and Coastal Erosion Management. Since 1998, Defra and the Environment Agency have run the UK Estuaries Research Programme (ERP) as part of their joint R&D programme. Within Phase 2 of the programme, tools have been further developed to enhance our ability to assess morphological change in estuaries. Running in parallel to this development, the EstSim project (FD2117: Development and Demonstration of System Based Estuary Simulators) investigated an alternative, yet complementary, methodology to the more conventional approaches pursued within other strands of ERP2. This involved application of a systems-based approach to the large-scale geomorphological behaviour of estuaries. This paper describes the systems-based approach to simulating estuary geomorphological behaviour (EstSim) that complements quantitative morphological modelling. A structured qualitative framework has been developed through which it is possible to assess the behaviour of geomorphological features present in estuaries, the links between them, and how they respond to changes brought about through natural processes, engineering works and estuary management activities. This behavioural model is based on a working typology for UK estuaries (i.e. seven standard behavioural types) that has been formalised through an expert assessment via a mathematical framework to allow computational simulations to be made. A prototype simulator has been developed for evaluating the gross properties and behaviour of estuaries and this can be accessed through the world wide web. Development and pilot testing on the Ribble Estuary and Southampton Water, along with the Thames and Teign Estuaries, has demonstrated that the simulator can be applied both to specific and user-defined estuaries as well as the standard estuary configurations. The limitations of applicability have been documented. Although systems-based thinking (as applied within this research) is a well-established conceptual framework in geomorphology, methodologies for converting system diagrams into practical simulation tools have not previously been investigated. In investigating this approach, EstSim has provided a qualitative framework to understand and explain the behaviour of geomorphological features within estuaries, the linkages that exist between them and hence their response to change. The work has been successful in providing exploratory level research that has been used to demonstrate the potential of such a systems-based approach. In conclusion, the knowledge gained on estuary geomorphological properties and behaviour through the study, combined with the results from applying the research level simulator, has led to an enhancement in the qualitative information available to support sustainable estuary management.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Maritime > General
Maritime > Estuary management
Divisions: Coastal
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2020 09:48
Last Modified: 29 May 2020 12:39

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