Ian Bentley, Harshinie Karunarathna


The need for reliable modelling techniques for the prediction of morphological change in coastal settings has become increasingly important to coastal planners and policy makers in recent years due to the effects of accelerated sea level rise and a shift in approach from coastal defence to coastal management. In this research a new cellular automata based model is developed in order to bridge the gap between current bottom-up, process based models and top-down behaviour oriented models of estuarine morphodynamic evolution, and make predictions of morphological change over medium time-scales (one year to several decades). The key processes of tidal flows, waves, sediment transport and salt marsh ecology are represented in simplified form in order to capture the complex interactions and feedbacks that occur between them and which ultimately determine how the morphology will develop in response to environmental change. The initial bathymetry of the estuary is represented by a cluster of rectangular cells in a CA domain. Tidal flows are estimated using a new routing model, which shows good agreement with a conventional 2D hydrodynamic model but is much more computationally efficient.


estuaries; morphological modelling; cellular automata


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