High-resolution satellite remote sensing of the coastal morphology

At present, about 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of the coast. This figure is expected to increase in the next 50 years [1]. The sea level rise caused by severe storms at present days, and predicted rise in the future are serious hazards to the coastal community and infrastructure (see Figure 1). In order to plan, manage and mitigate future issues in coastal populations, the characterisation of the maritime boundaries is essential. Different techniques have been typically used for this purpose; some examples of these techniques are in situ measurement of coastal recession, and coastal monitoring using local recording methods. However, innovative methodologies have arisen in the past decades, such as remote sensing. The definition of the coast line from satellite data has been developed in the past, however, the obtained data are not accurate enough to be useful for short-term analyses or predictions. The resolution in many cases is in the range of kilometres, providing a poor source of information for local applications. Moreover, the correct estimation of the coastline is still a source of uncertainties. Hence it becomes necessary to use high-resolution satellite data for evaluating coastline evolution and morphology, which is the key objective of this project. 

Key research questions

  • How well can the coastal dynamics and related spatial and temporal scales be quantified by using satellite data?
  • What is the best methodology to capture coastal processes over time using satellite data?
  • How to quantify future coastline changes due to climate induced water level rise and weather scenarios?
  • Is there a relationship between drought and rain cycles, the human action, and flooding and erosion processes in coastal areas?
  • How can the coastal zone development process be optimised using the information extracted from previous research questions?

Further Information: 

Closing Date: 

Thursday, January 10, 2019
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Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


The ideal student will have good quantitative and communication skills and a very good understanding of coastal processes and ocean engineering. Example of suitable backgrounds are: Civil and Environmental.

Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent), possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


NERC funded. Funding and eligibility details here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/e4-dtp/how-to-apply/funding-and-eligibility

Informal Enquiries: