PhD Position RealDune; Real life dune erosion processes

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 15 Apr 2020

We are looking for a PhD Candidate to strengthen our new RealDune project team. RealDune is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat), the Foundation for Applied Water Research (STOWA) and the Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI) Deltatechnology.

RealDune involves a comprehensive study on real life scale erosion of coastal dunes. Several models to predict dune erosion process are available that can be used to assess the development of dunes during storms and its functionality as a flood defense barrier. Currently, the empirical DUROS+ model is used to assess dune safety in the Netherlands, The process-based model XBeach is a candidate to replace this model in the future. However, it has until now only been validated against laboratory data and some foreign field data, but not yet against comprehensive field data of the dune erosion process on the Dutch coast. Moreover, it is largely unknown how dune erosion processes are affected by the presence of hard structures inside a sandy dune. To that end, the RealDune team will conduct an ambitious field experiment. A physical model prototype of a dune will be built in situ along the sandy shoreline of the Dutch coast to be eroded by waves and currents. The collected data will be used to assess and improve the existing dune erosion formulations in XBeach. This will lead to better predictions of dune erosion in the future that can be used for nationwide safety assessments and the design of maintenance of the Dutch dune system.

The PhD candidate will work on the quantification of the dune erosion process in the field as a function of environmental processes (waves and currents) and physical parameters (grain size, vegetation, shape of the dune profile). The candidate will design and execute this field work supported by the in-house hydraulic engineering field program at TUDelft. Also, the candidate will use the collected data to validate and improve descriptions of dune erosion in XBeach.

The PhD candidate will be supervised by dr. Sierd de Vries and Prof. Stefan Aarninkhof at TU Delft. Ap van Dongeren at Deltares will be involved as an advisor. The candidate will work and collaborate in a research team that involves a PostDoc position at the same departement. This PostDoc will be supervised by dr. Marion Tissier and Prof. Ad Reniers. This postdoc will be focussing on the detailed analysis of short and long wave transformation from offshore to the dune and will be responsible for the wave data acquisition during a colaborative field campaign. We anticipate both PhD and PostDoc to develop synergies between these two projects as this wave information will provide input to the dune erosion model.

The PhD candidate should be prepared to spend up to a maximum of 15% of his/her time on activities not directly related to the PhD research. This includes participation to Graduate School courses, an active role in education and other other organisational activities.

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