Online tool helps monitor and protect shingle beaches

Shingle B data Shingle B is a free open-source tool for coastal engineers and engineering consultants

Coastal engineers and engineering consultants have benefited from a shingle beach profiling tool which can account for wave conditions.

Launched last year, Shingle-B is an online parametric model which predicts the profile of shingle beaches, as they respond to bi-modal sea states.

Dr Travis Mason, director of the Channel Coastal Observatory, said: “The development of Shingle-B provides us with a unique, easy-to-use tool, to assist with the prediction of the likely changes to specific shingle beaches, and so help in their operational management.”

Developed by HR Wallingford

Funded with an Environment Agency flood and coastal erosion risk management grant, the tool, commissioned by New Forest District Council, was developed by HR Wallingford, in collaboration with the Channel Coastal Observatory.

Shingle B was made publicly available online in July 2016 on the Channel Coastal Observatory website as a free open-source tool for coastal engineers and engineering consultants. According to the organisation, the tool’s web page has already received over 7,000 visitors.

Dr Tim Pullen, principal engineer in coastal structures at HR Wallingford, commented: “In this research, we examined the profile response of gravel beaches to bi-modal wave spectra, carried out by swell and wind wave periods in various combinations. To gather the data to inform the model, we carried out an extensive 2D flume study in a 100m long, 1.8m wide and 2m deep wave flume at our physical modelling laboratories in Oxfordshire.”

Ongoing challenges

Dr Mason added: “The rapid morphological changes of shingle beaches under wave action makes their monitoring and management a continual challenge.”

Most shingle beaches occur in the UK, Japan and New Zealand.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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