Dr Tim Scott

Dr Tim Scott

Associate Professor of Ocean Exploration

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

  • Lecturer in Ocean Exploration
  • Coastal Marine Applied Research (CMAR) consultancy
  • Industry Liaison (Ocean Exploration & Hydrography lead) 

I am a lecturer in Ocean Exploration and have been actively contributing to internationally recognised research in fields of beach and submarine geomorphology, rip current dynamics and coastal hazards. My recent research has focused on storm impacts, rip current circulation and coastal hazards in Europe, and has been published in high-quality international journals. I have more than 15 years experience in the collection and analysis of coastal morphological, hydrodynamic and hydrographic data. I have been actively involved in national and international collaborations with external partners (e.g., RNLI, UK Met Office, local and regional councils and external universities). My academic research has resulted >35 peer-reviewed international journal articles and numerous conference papers, technical reports, invited lectures, workshops and media outputs. In addition to academic research I have conducted a number of consultancy projects, including working closely with the RNLI for over a decade, improving understanding of physical coastal hazards and developing operational risk assessment tools. I have several years of commercial offshore experience working in seismic and hydrographic industry and I have also acted as expert witness in rip current drowning cases.

I have been principal investigator or co-investigator on a number of successful field-based research and consultancy projects (see research). This work has involved intertidal and nearshore oceanographic instrument deployment (Eulerian and Lagrangian), surf zone circulation tracking (GPS surf-zone drifters), RTK-GNSS, total station, laser scanner and UAV SFM topographic surveying, nearshore single- and multi-beam bathymetric surveying, video remote sensing (surf zone and seabed ROV), as well as collection and processing of shallow water sidescan sonar and sub-bottom profile data. My work in the commercial offshore surveying industry involved the acquisition of shelf- and deep sea seismic data, and ROV-based video, multibeam and sidescan sonar data processing. I now also act as industry liaison for hydrography at the University, continuing development of industry links and employability of our graduates. 


2015 –           Lecturer in Ocean Exploration, Plymouth University

2013 – 2015:      Research and Teaching Associate, Plymouth University

2010 – 2013:        Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Plymouth University (Website)

2006 – 2010:        PhD Coastal Processes, Plymouth University (Summary of research)

2005 – 2006:           Consultant Geophysicist, DeepOcean, Norway

2003 – 2004:           MSc Applied Marine Science, Plymouth University

2001 – 2003:           Shelf Sea Seismic Acquisition, WesternGeco, Mexico

1999 – 2001:           BSc Geological Oceanography, University of Wales, Bangor

1998 – 1999:           National Diploma, Art and Design, Exeter College

Roles on external bodies

Working groups   

2012 – Present: International Lifesaving Federation(ILS) – Rescue Commission: Rip Current Safety Alliance (RipSafe) Committee.

2012: Scientific committee: 2nd International Rip Current Symposium, Sydney,Australia, 2012.

2009: Steering committee for Plymouth Marine Science Partnership Conference.

2006 – 2009: PRE (Public RescueEquipment) working group (UoP, RNLI, ROSPA, UWI Cardiff, RLSS UK, SLSA GB,ENCAMS, SLSGB, MCA, NWSF).

2006 – Present: Beach Risk Assessment working group (RNLI, UoP, SLSGB, RLSS UK, SLSGB, ROSPA, SLSA).

2007: Coordinator for the Young Coastal Scientists & Engineers Conference ’07 (April 2007;Plymouth).

Teaching interests

Coastal hydrography, submarine geomorphology and coastal morphodynamics/evolution/hazards. I am particularly particularly passionate about field-based learning.

Current responsibilities:

Degree programs
Ocean Exploration and Surveying - BSc (Hons)
Oceanography and Coastal Processes - BSc (Hons)
Ocean Science and Marine Conservation - BSc (Hons)
Hydrography - MSc
Applied Marine Science - MSc

Undergraduate modules
OS101 - Introduction to Ocean Science (Beach Surveying)
OS105 - Mapping the Marine Environment (Sidescan survey)
OS206 - Researching the Marine Environment (Hydrography)
OS305 - Coastal Survey (Multibeam Backscatter)
OS314 - Oceanography, Coastal Processes and Surveying Field Course (South Africa; Hydrogrphy)
OS301 - Ocean Science Research Project

Postgraduate modules
MAR520 - Hydrography field week (Bathymetric surveying)
MAR522 - Survey Project Management (Module Leader)
MAR523 - Digital Mapping (IT systems and autonomy)
MAR524 - MSc Dissertation (Hydrography)

MSc research project supervision - Beach morhodynamics and submarine geomorphology [6 current/ 20 complete]
PhD expert commentator
PhD supervisor - 6 x PhD students (1 x DoS) [1 complete]
PhD Summer School - Beach and Estuarine Morphodynamics: Skallingen, Denmark. University of Copenhagen. Lectures, fieldwork and workshops.

Research interests

Coastal Geomorphology and Hydrography

  • Beach morphodynamics and coastal evolution

  • Submarine geomorphology

  • Rip current dynamics and nearshore sediment transport

  • Coastal hazards and risk

  • Autonomous survey

CMAR - Coastal Marine Applied Research

  • Coastal consultancy

Research groups:

Grants & contracts


2019 – 2020 EMFF Habitat Classification and Fisheries Sensitivity Mapping Tool for Isles of Scilly

2019 – 2021 GCRF Sustainable Abalone Ranching in South Africa (PI) (£50,000)

2016 – 2020 Physical and Biological Dynamic Coastal Processes and their Role in Coastal Recovery (BLUE-coast) (CI) (£760.000 to Plymouth) 

2014 – 2015 NERC Urgency grant: Impact of sequence of extreme storms during 2013/14 winter on southwest coast of England (CI) (£80,000)

2012 – 2014 RNLI/MetOffice/Marine Institute: Topographic rip currents TOPORIP (CI) (£99,000)

2010 – 2014 NERC/RNLI – Partnership grant: Dynamics of Rips and Implications for Beach Safety (RF with – PI: G. Masselink; CI: P. Russell) (£550,000)

2009 RNLI: UK beach and hazards database project: Good Beach Guide integration (PI) (£ 10,000)

2008 Royal National Lifeboat Institution, University of Plymouth, Naval Postgraduate School: Macro-tidal rip current experiment (PI with Dr Martin Austin) (representing c. £ 3,000)

2006 – 2010 RNLI/HEIF2 PhD studentship with full fees and stipend ( £ 60,000)

2003 – 2004 Full NERC scholarship for M.Sc. Applied Marine Science

2001 Derbyshire prize: Physical Oceanography student of the year ( £ 100). University of Wales Bangor.

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Hilton D, Davidson M & Scott T 2020 'Seasonal Predictions of Shoreline Change, Informed by Climate Indices' Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 8, (8) 616-616 , DOI
Valiente NG, Masselink G, McCarroll RJ, Scott T, Conley D & King E 2020 'Nearshore sediment pathways and potential sediment budgets in embayed settings over a multi-annual timescale' Marine Geology 427, 106270-106270 , DOI PEARL
Mouragues A, Bonneton P, Castelle B, Marieu V, Barrett A, Bonneton N, Detand G, Martins K, McCarroll J & Morichon D 2020 'Field Observations of Wave-induced Headland Rips' Journal of Coastal Research 95, (sp1) 578-578 , DOI
Castelle B, Scott T, Brander R, McCarroll RJ, Tellier E, de Korte E, Tackuy L, Robinet A, Simonnet B & Salmi L-R 2020 'Wave and Tide Controls on Rip Current Activity and Drowning Incidents in Southwest France' Journal of Coastal Research 95, (sp1) 769-769 , DOI
Wiggins M, Scott T, Masselink G, McCarroll RJ & Russell P 2020 'Predicting beach rotation using multiple atmospheric indices' Marine Geology 426, 106207-106207 , DOI PEARL
McCarroll RJ, Masselink G, Valiente NG, Wiggins M, Scott T, Conley DC & King EV 2020 'Impact of a headland-associated sandbank on shoreline dynamics' Geomorphology 355, 107065-107065 , DOI PEARL
Castelle B, Scott T, Brander R, McCarroll J, Robinet A, Tellier E, de Korte E, Simonnet B & Salmi L-R 2019 'Environmental controls on surf zone injuries on high-energy beaches' Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 19, (10) 2183-2205 , DOI
Valiente NG, McCarroll RJ, Masselink G, Scott T & Wiggins M 2019 'Multi-annual embayment sediment dynamics involving headland bypassing and sediment exchange across the depth of closure' Geomorphology 343, 48-64 , DOI PEARL
McCarroll RJ, Masselink G, Wiggins M, Scott T, Billson O, Conley DC & Valiente NG 2019 'High-efficiency gravel longshore sediment transport and headland bypassing over an extreme wave event' Earth Surface Processes and Landforms , DOI PEARL
King EV, Conley DC, Masselink G, Leonardi N, McCarroll RJ & Scott T 2019 'The Impact of Waves and Tides on Residual Sand Transport on a Sediment‐Poor, Energetic, and Macrotidal Continental Shelf' Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans , DOI PEARL
Wiggins M, Scott T, Masselink G, Russell P & Valiente NG 2019 'Regionally-Coherent Embayment Rotation: Behavioural Response to Bi-Directional Waves and Atmospheric Forcing' Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 7, (4) 116-116 , DOI PEARL
Wiggins M, Scott T, Masselink G, Russell P & McCarroll RJ 2018 'Coastal embayment rotation: Response to extreme events and climate control, using full embayment surveys' Geomorphology 327, 385-403 , DOI PEARL
Valiente NG, Masselink G, Scott T, Conley D & McCarroll RJ 2018 'Role of waves and tides on depth of closure and potential for headland bypassing' Marine Geology 407, 60-75 , DOI PEARL
Dodet G, Castelle B, Masselink G, Scott T, Davidson M, Floc'h F, Jackson D & Suanez S 2018 'Beach recovery from extreme storm activity during the 2013–14 winter along the Atlantic coast of Europe' Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 44, (1) 393-401 , DOI PEARL
Scott T, Castelle B, Almar R, Senechal N, Floc'h F & Detandt G 2018 'Controls on Flash Rip Current Hazard on Low-Tide Terraced Tropical Beaches in West Africa' Journal of Coastal Research 92-99 Author Site , DOI
Floc'h F, Mabiala GR, Almar R, Castelle B, Hall N, Du Penhoat Y, Scott T & Delacourt C 2018 'Flash Rip Statistics from Video Images' Journal of Coastal Research 100-106 Author Site , DOI
McCarroll RJ, Masselink G, Valiente NG, Scott T, King EV & Conley D 2018 'Wave and Tidal Controls on Embayment Circulation and Headland Bypassing for an Exposed, Macrotidal Site' Journal of Marine Science and Engineering , DOI PEARL
McCarroll RJ, Brander RW, Scott T & Castelle B 2018 'Bathymetric Controls on Rotational Surfzone Currents' Journal of Geophysical Research. Earth Surface 123, (6) 1295-1316 , DOI PEARL
Almar R, Nicolae Lerma A, Castelle B & Scott T 2018 'On the influence of reflection over a rhythmic swash zone on surf zone dynamics' Ocean Dynamics 68, (7) 899-909 , DOI PEARL
Castelle B, Brander R, Tellier E, Simonnet B, Scott T, McCarroll J, Campagne J-M, Cavailhes T & Lechevrel P 2018 'Surf zone hazards and injuries on beaches in SW France' Natural Hazards , DOI PEARL
Burvingt O, Masselink G, Scott T, Davidson M & Russell P 2018 'Climate forcing of regionally-coherent extreme storm impact and recovery on embayed beaches' Marine Geology 401, 112-128 , DOI PEARL
Masselink G & Scott T 2018 'Increased winter-mean wave height, variability and periodicity in the North-East Atlantic over 1949-2017' Geophysical Research Letters , DOI PEARL
Burvingt O, Masselink G, Russell P & Scott T 2017 'Classification of beach response to extreme storms' Geomorphology 295, 722-737 , DOI PEARL
Castelle B, Dodet G, Masselink G & Scott T 2017 'A new climate index controlling winter wave activity along the Atlantic coast of Europe: The West Europe Pressure Anomaly' Geophysical Research Letters , DOI PEARL
Stokes C, Masselink G, Revie M, Scott T, Purves D & Walters T 2017 'Application of multiple linear regression and Bayesian belief network approaches to model life risk to beach users in the UK' Ocean & Coastal Management 139, 12-23 , DOI PEARL
Scott T, Masselink G, O'Hare T, Saulter A, Poate T, Russell P, Davidson M & Conley D 2016 'The extreme 2013/2014 winter storms: Beach recovery along the southwest coast of England' Marine Geology 382, 224-241 , DOI PEARL
Castelle B, Scott T, Brander RW & McCarroll RJ 2016 'Rip current types, circulation and hazard' Earth-Science Reviews 163, 1-21 Publisher Site , DOI PEARL
Almar R, Larnier S, Castelle B, Scott T & Floc'h F 2016 'On the use of the Radon transform to estimate longshore currents from video imagery' COASTAL ENGINEERING 114, 301-308 Author Site , DOI PEARL
Prodger S, Russell P, Davidson M, Miles J & Scott T 2016 'Understanding and predicting the temporal variability of sediment grain size characteristics on high-energy beaches' Marine Geology , DOI PEARL
Masselink G, Castelle B, Scott T, Dodet G, Suanez S, Jackson D & Floc'h F 2016 'Extreme wave activity during 2013/2014 winter and morphological impacts along the Atlantic coast of Europe' Geophysical Research Letters 43, (5) 2135-2143 , DOI PEARL
Burvingt O, Masselink G, Russell P & Scott T 2016 'Beach response to consecutive extreme storms using LiDAR along the SW coast of England' Journal of Coastal Research 75, (sp1) 1052-1056 , DOI PEARL
Scott T, Austin M, Masselink G & Russell P 2016 'Dynamics of rip currents associated with groynes — field measurements, modelling and implications for beach safety' Coastal Engineering 107, 53-69 , DOI PEARL
Castelle B, McCarroll RJ, Brander RW, Scott T & Dubarbier B 2015 'Modelling the alongshore variability of optimum rip current escape strategies on a multiple rip-channelled beach' NATURAL HAZARDS 81, (1) 663-686 Author Site , DOI PEARL
McCarroll RJ, Castelle B, Brander RW & Scott T 2015 'Modelling rip current flow and bather escape strategies across a transverse bar and rip channel morphology' Geomorphology 246, 502-518 , DOI
Masselink G, Scott T, Poate T, Russell P, Davidson M & Conley D 2015 'The extreme 2013/2014 winter storms: hydrodynamic forcing and coastal response along the southwest coast of England' Earth Surface Processes and Landforms n/a-n/a , DOI PEARL
Masselink G, Austin M, Scott T, Poate T & Russell P 2014 'Role of wave forcing, storms and nao in outer bar dynamics on a high-energy, macro-tidal beach' Geomorphology 226, 76-93 , DOI PEARL
Scott T, Masselink G, Austin MJ & Russell P 2014 'Controls on macrotidal rip current circulation and hazard' GEOMORPHOLOGY 214, 198-215 , DOI PEARL
Austin MJ, Masselink G, Scott TM & Russell PE 2014 'Water-level controls on macro-tidal rip currents' Continental Shelf Research 75, 28-40 , DOI
Scott T, Masselink G, Austin MJ & Russell P 2014 'Controls on macrotidal rip current circulation and hazard' Geomorphology ----- Publisher Site , DOI
Thorpe A, Miles J, Masselink G, Russell P, Scott T & Austin M 2013 'Suspended Sediment Transport in Rip Currents on a Macrotidal Beach' JOURNAL OF COASTAL RESEARCH 1880-1885 Author Site , DOI
2012 'Rip Current Prediction: Development, Validation, and Evaluation of an Operational Tool' Journal of Coastal Research 29, (2) 283-283 , DOI
Scott T, Thorpe A, Miles J, Masselink G, Russell P & Austin M 2012 'Field measurements of bed forms in a rip channel on a macro-tidal beach'
Scott T, Masselink G & Russell P 2011 'Morphodynamic characteristics and classification of beaches in England and Wales' MARINE GEOLOGY 286, (1-4) 1-20 Author Site , DOI PEARL
Austin M, Scott T, Brown J, Brown J, MacMahan J, Masselink G & Russell P 2010 'Temporal observations of rip current circulation on a macro-tidal beach' CONTINENTAL SHELF RESEARCH 30, (9) 1149-1165 Author Site , DOI
MacMahan J, Brown J, Brown J, Thornton E, Reniers A, Stanton T, Henriquez M, Gallagher E, Morrison J & Austin MJ 2010 'Mean Lagrangian flow behavior on an open coast rip-channeled beach: A new perspective' MARINE GEOLOGY 268, (1-4) 1-15 Author Site , DOI
Scott T, Russell P, Masselink G, Wooler A & Short A 2007 'Beach Rescue Statistics and their Relation to Nearshore Morphology and Hazards: A Case Study for Southwest England' J COASTAL RES (SI 50) 1-6
Scott T, Masselink G, McCarroll RJ, Castelle B, dodet G, Saulter A, Scaife AA & Dunstone NJ 0 'Atmospheric controls and long range predictability of directional waves in the United Kingdom & Ireland' , DOI
Brander R & Scott T 2018 'Science of the rip current hazard' The Science of Beach Lifeguarding CRC Press 67-85 , DOI
Scott T & Brander R 2016 'Science of the rip current' The Science of Beach Lifeguarding CRC Press
Scott T, Russell P, Masselink G, Austin MJ, Wills S & Wooler A 2011 'Chapter 14. Rip Current Hazards on Large-Tidal Beaches in the United Kingdom' in Leatherman S Rip Currents: Beach Safety, Physical Oceanography, and Wave Modeling CRC Press
Buscombe D & Scott T 2008 'The Coastal Geomorphology of North Cornwall: St. Ives Head to Trevose Head' The Coastal Geomorphology of North Cornwall: St. Ives Head to Trevose Head Plymouth University of Plymouth PEARL
Conference Papers
Thorpe A, Miles J, Masselink G, Russell P, Scott T & Austin M 2013 'Suspended sediment transport in rip currents on a macrotidal beach' 1880-1885 , DOI
Thorpe A, Miles J, Masselink G, Russell P, Scott T & Austin M 2012 'FIELD MEASUREMENTS OF BEDFORMS IN A RIP CHANNEL ON A MACRO-TIDAL BEACH' Coastal Engineering Research Council 93-93 , DOI
Scott T, Russell P, Masselink G & Wooler A 2009 'Rip current variability and hazard along a macro-tidal coast' 10th International Coastal Symposium (ICS 2009) Lisbon, PORTUGAL 4-/-0/20094-/-0/2009COASTAL EDUCATION & RESEARCH FOUNDATION 895-899
Austin MJ, Scott TM, Brown JW, Brown JA & MacMahan JH 2009 'Macrotidal Rip Current Experiment: Circulation And Dynamics' 24-28

Other academic activities

2018/19 - Editor for Journal of Marine Sciences and Engineering (JMSE), special issue 'Storm Erosion'.