Watch now: Coastal impacts of extreme storms in a changing climate

Launching the 2019 Public Research Lecture series, Professor in Coastal Geomorphology Gerd Masselink shares his world-leading research with a look at the coastlines on our doorstep, the damage they've endured and the steps to recovery.

This event took place on Wednesday 23 January 2019, as part of Research Festival 2019.

In 2013/14, the UK was subjected to the most energetic winter on record. The impact on our coastlines was unprecedented, with the damage still felt five years on.

Today we face some harsh realities:

  • Our climate is changing, and the resulting rise in sea level and potential increase in storminess will have significant coastal impacts.
  • Rising sea levels will, over time, allow storm waves to attack higher land and reach further inland.
  • The southwest coast of England is already vulnerable to extreme storms, with recovery still incomplete.
  • So what are the impacts, and what can be done to protect our coastlines?

    Join Professor Gerd Masselink as he shares his insight with a look at the coastlines on our doorstep, the damage they've endured and the steps to recovery, followed by an open Q&A session.

    A Professor in Coastal Geomorphology in the University's School of Biological and Marine Sciences, and Director of the Coastal Processes Research Group, Gerd is one of the world’s leading experts on the lasting impacts of extreme storms and the development of methods to predict them in the future. He has co-authored more than 150 research papers about the causes and effects of coastal erosion both in the UK and internationally.

    Along with fellow academics in Plymouth and further afield, he has shown that extreme storms have consistently increased in frequency and ferocity over the past 70 years, and through field measurements and computer modelling he is at the forefront of efforts to help coastal communities manage the subsequent impacts in the decades to come.

    All are welcome to the University of Plymouth's Research Lecture series, to hear the fascinating - and often surprising - talks from leading experts and their perspectives of our world through a research lens. 

    Need-to-know
    This event is open to the public and free to attend. We recommend reserving your place using the above link to guarantee a seat.

    Professor Gerd Masselink

    Our coastline acts as a natural barrier to the sea, but what we’ve seen right across South West England is unprecedented damage and change – from huge amounts of sand being stripped from beaches to rapid erosion of cliffs.

    Where did the sand go?

    In 2013–14 some of the most energetic series of storms ever hit our coastline. 

    Many beaches across the South West of England have still not fully recovered from the erosion. But where did the sand go?

    Watch our animation to find out.

    Coastal Processes Research Group

    The Coastal Processes Research Group is an internationally recognised group of researchers, specialising in field studies of coastal processes and seeking to understand and predict the behaviour of coastal and estuarine systems. Research topics include:

    • beach morphodynamics and nearshore sediment transport
    • coastal erosion and storm impacts
    • video monitoring of coastal systems
    • coastal process modelling
    • estuarine processes and evolution.

    The group operates a research-informed consultancy Coastal Marine Applied Research.

    Coastal Marine Applied Research (CMAR)

    A research-informed consultancy to address important issues in the coastal and marine environment

    Find out more about CMAR