Utilisation of data to understand coastal processes

SCOPAC award towards research projects which use Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data

A contribution of £1,000 is available from SCOPAC towards research projects using Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data. This SCOPAC initiative is to demonstrate the value of ongoing capture and use of freely available datasets from the Monitoring Programmes.

The Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme was the first region to be set up in 2002 with the Southwest Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme following in 2006. Both are now providing datasets which reveal invaluable insight into decadal changes in coastal processes.

The data underpins development of baseline coastal processes understanding for Shoreline Management Plans, Strategy Studies, Beach Management Plans, as well as the impacts of scheme design. Data is captured once to a high level specification and used many times. The programme is managed on behalf of the Coastal Groups and is funded by DEFRA, in partnership with the maritime Local Authorities and the Environment Agency. For more information, please see www.channelcoast.org. 


Two projects have been awarded for 2018/19 and 2019/20, each receiving £1,000:

1. Swanage Pier WaveRex analysis

Environment Agency and Channel Coast Observatory
Analysis of the hydrodynamic conditions and beach volume changes in Swanage Bay is being undertaken to determine what factors control the rapid changes in beach volume following storm events. Topographic beach profiles collected by the Channel Coastal Observatory (CCO) are available for the bay since 2007, and are analysed alongside data from the CCO Swanage Pier WaveRadar Rex, the CCO Boscombe Directional WaveRider (DWR) Buoy, the Cefas operated Poole Bay DWR and a short term deployment of a Nortek AWAC current profiler. Initial analysis shows a longshore drift from South to North, interspersed with rapid draw down events associated with Storm events, which tend to recover quickly. Direction plays a key part in these events, as does the timing of the events in relation to high water and the presence of long period swell waves. A decade of beach profiles measurements indicates a lowering of beach levels in the southern and central portions of the Bay, and predicts a return to pre-nourishment beach levels in the central section of the beach by approximately 2040. Much of the analysis has been carried out by Toby Miller as part of his MSc thesis for Engineering in the Coastal Environment at Southampton University.

2. The evolution of Kirk Arrow Spit, Selsey

Chichester District Council and the Eastern Coastal Partnership
This study will use Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data, accompanied by new survey data collected as part of the study, to map the evolution of Kirk Arrow Spit. Historically, the nearshore sediment store has provided a sediment feed to the adjacent beaches. Whether the store is still providing an onshore feed and will do into the future is unknown. Phase 1 of the project will collect the survey data and map the evolution of the spit. Phase 2 will look into the likelihood of whether the store will continue to provide a sediment feed to the frontage at Selsey if Phase 1 shows there’s enough information to start interpreting possible future evolution of the spit.

The following coastal process studies have been undertaken using data from the Southeast Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme:

Download the Sandown Bay report (pdf, 2Mb)

Sandown Bay Coastal Process Study (2018)

Sandown Bay is a popular tourist and amenity beach stretching 8.2 km along the south-east coast of the Isle of Wight. Due to recent concern regarding low beach levels and erosion along this frontage, SCOPAC awarded the ‘improved utilisation of data fund’ to the Isle of Wight Council for a small-scale desktop study to be undertaken by the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership (ESCP). This study uses South-east Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme data (which provides data since 2003) to assess erosion and accretion in response to changes in wave forcing, building upon previous studies.

Download the report (PDF, 2Mb)

Download the Cakeham Manor Estate report (pdf, 7Mb)

Cakeham Manor Estate Coastal Process Study (2015)

This coastal process report has been prepared by the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership on behalf of Cakeham Manor Estate, using data from the South-east tRegional Coastal Monitoring programme. The report summarises evolution of the coastline and the data available for monitoring coastal change, and explores whether any additional data collection is required for:

  • the western end of the frontage to establish if and when the coastline switches from accretion to erosion, according to Fitzgerald’s (2012) theory
  • the central and eastern section of the frontage, which are generally more vulnerable to erosion

Download the report (PDF, 7Mb)