Dr Nieves Valiente

Dr Nieves Valiente

Lecturer in Marine Science (Coastal Processes)

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)



I am a Lecturer in Marine Sciences (Coastal Processes) focusing on understanding the multi-scale coastal dynamics and hazards through field measurements and numerical simulations of ocean currents, wind-waves and sediment transport. Before taking on my current role, I was previously working as a senior wave scientist at the Ocean Forecasting R&D group of the UK Met Office, studying the air-sea boundary layer dynamics and contributing to develop novel coupling strategies between atmosphere, waves and ocean global and regional models. 

I collaborate with national and international experts, I am part of the WAVEWATCH III code developer group and I am the co-chair of the Surface Waves Activity Group in the UK National Partnership for Ocean Prediction. As a member of the Coastal Processes Research Group, I help designing and conducting monitoring programs, field deployments, and numerical modeling of coastal hydrodynamics and sediment transport. I also teach several ocean modules and supports and advises graduate and undergraduate students.

I completed a B.Sc. in Marine Sciences (five-year degree in physical oceanography) at the University of Vigo, Spain. Later, I enrolled in a M.Sc. degree in Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Engineering at the Hydraulic Institute of Cantabria (University of Cantabria, Spain). After my graduation I worked for more than two years as a research assistant in the Department of Water and Environmental Sciences and Techniques at the University of Cantabria. My experience there was varied and focused on analysing remote-sensing coastal data for land zoning. Later, I decided to continue my higher education enrolling in a Ph.D. research program at the University of Plymouth under the supervision of Prof. Gerd Masselink. My Ph.D. studied those linkages between the upper shoreface and the inner continental shelf during storm conditions and major implications in the subsequent beach recovery. The study combined morphological observations, in-situ measurements of waves and currents, and numerical simulations of sediment transport (using Delft3D-WAVE and Delft3D-FLOW).


2023 - present Lecturer in Marine Science (Coastal Processes), University of Plymouth (UK)
2022 - 2023 Associate Lecturer, University of Plymouth (UK)
2022 - 2023 Senior Ocean Wave Scientist, Met Office (UK)
2019 - 2022 Ocean Wave Scientist, Met Office (UK)
2015 - 2019 PhD,  University of Plymouth (UK). Research project: Sediment exchange between the beach and the inner shelf
2011 - 2014 Research Assisstant, University of Cantabria (Spain)
2009 - 2011 MSc Integrated Coastal Zone Management, HI Cantabria (University of Cantabria, Spain) Thesis: Modelling of Cliff Erosion On The North Coast Of Río Negro (Argentina). 
2004 - 2009 BSc Oceanography, University of Vigo (Spain)

Roles on external bodies

  • Co-chair of the SurfaceWaves Activity Group (SWAG) for the UK National Partnership for Ocean Prediction (NPOP). NPOP comprises the Met Office, Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML), the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). SWAG brings together UK expertise on observations, modelling and forecasting of ocean surface waves.
  • Reviewer for scientic journals - Nature Communications, Journal Geophysical Research: Oceans, Marine Geology, Geomorphology, Journal of Operational Oceanography, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (JMSE).



Teaching interests

Currently teaches:

  • OS105 Mapping the Marine Environment (Module Leader)
  • OS202 Monitoring the Marine Environment
  • OS312 Marine Science Field Course (Module Leader)

Completed PhD students:

  • Student: Mariona Casamayor. Thesis: "Study of the transport and morphology of San Felipe beach". Succesfully defended in September 2022, University of Las Palmas (Spain).

Staff serving as external examiners

  • Ph.D. external examiner. Student: Nefeli Makrygianni.Thesis: "Evaluation of the Performance of the Wave Boundary Layer Model with the OpenIFS". Viva in April 2022, University of Cardiff, UK.



Research interests

  • Coastal morphodynamics
  • Wave hydrodynamics
  • Wave-atmosphere boundary layer
  • Sediment transport
  • Numerical modelling
  • Integrated Coastal Management




N.G. Valiente, A. Saulter, B. Gomez, C. Bunney, J.-G. Li, T. Palmer and C. Pequignet. The Met Office operational wave forecasting system: the evolution of the Regional and Global models, Geoscientific Model Development Discussion, 16, 2515–2538 (2023). https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-16-2515-2023

R.J. McCarroll, N.G. Valiente, M. Wiggins, T. Scott, and G. Masselink. Coastal survey data for Perranporth Beach and Start Bay in southwest England (2006–2021). Sci Data 10, 258 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-023-02131-0

M. Harley, G. Masselink, A. Ruiz de Alegria-Arzaburu, N.G. Valiente, T. Scott, 2021. Single Extreme Strong Sequence Can Offset Decades of Shoreline Retreat by Sea-level Rise, Commun Earth Environ 3, 112 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-022-00437-2.

E.V. King, D. Conley, G. Masselink, N. Leonardi, R.J. McCarroll, T. Scott, N.G. Valiente. Wave, Tide and Topographical Controls on Headland Sand Bypassing, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, e2020JC017053 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JC017053.

D. Bruciaferri, M. Tonani, H.W. Lewis, A. Saulter, J.M. Castillo-Sanchez, N.G. Valiente, D. Conley, P. Sykes, I. Ascione, N. McConnell. The Impact of Ocean-Wave Coupling on the Upper Ocean Circulation During Storm Events, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, e2021JC017343 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JC017343.

N.G. Valiente, A. Saulter, J.M. Edwards, H.W. Lewis, J.M. Castillo-Sanchez, D. Bruciaferri, C. Bunney, J. Siddorn. The Impact of Wave Model Source Terms and Coupling Strategies to Rapidly Developing Waves across the North-West European Shelf during Extreme Events, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 9(4), 403 (2021). https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9040403.

R.J. McCarroll, G. Masselink, N.G. Valiente, T. Scott, M. Wiggins, J.A. Kirby, M. Davidson. A rules-based shoreface translation and sediment budgeting tool for estimating coastal change: ShoreTrans, Marine Geology, 435, 106466 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2021.106466

R.J. McCarroll, G. Masselink, N.G. Valiente, E.V. King, T. Scott, C. Stokes, M. Wiggins. An XBeach derived parametric expression for headland bypassing, Coastal Engineering, 165, 103860 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coastaleng.2021.103860

N.G. Valiente, G. Masselink, R.J. McCarroll, T. Scott, D. Conley, E.V. King. Nearshore sediment pathways and potential sediment budgets in embayed settings over a multi-annual timescale, Marine Geology, 427, 106270 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2020.106270.

R.J. McCarroll, G. Masselink, N.G. Valiente, T. Scott, D. Conley. Impact of a headland-associated sandbank on shoreline dynamics, Geomorphology, 355, 107065 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2020.107065

N.G. Valiente, G. Masselink, R.J. McCarroll, T. Scott, M. Wiggins. Multi-annual embayment sediment dynamics involving headland bypassing and sediment exchange across the depth of closure, Geomorphology, 343, 48-64 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2019.06.020.

R.J. McCarroll, G. Masselink, M. Wiggins, T. Scott, O. Bilson, D. Conley, N.G. Valiente. High-efficiency longshore gravel transport and headland bypassing during an extreme event, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 13 (44), 2720-2727 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4692

M. Wiggins, T. Scott, G. Masselink, P. Russell, N.G. Valiente. Regionally coherent embayment rotation; Behavioral response to bi-directional waves and atmospheric forcing, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 7, 116 (2019). https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse7040116.

N.G. Valiente, G. Masselink, T. Scott, D. Conley, R.J. McCarroll. Role of waves and tides on depth of closure and potential for headland bypassing, Marine Geology, 407, 60-75 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.margeo.2018.10.009.

R.J. McCarroll, G. Masselink, N.G. Valiente, T. Scott, E. King. Wave and tidal controls on headland bypassing and embayment circulation, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 6 (3), 94 (2018). https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse6030094.



Conferences organised

  • NPOP workshop 2023 (ongoing)