Deltares: Confidence in Coastal Forecasts (The Netherlands)

Confidence in Coastal Forecasts

Predictions of phenomena such as sea-level rise, storm surges or coastal erosion are important for decisions about coastal protection. Coastal managers need to know how reliable these predictions are and whether they can be improved.

Fedor Baart, a senior researcher with Deltares, developed a new approach and was awarded his doctorate in this field at Delft University of Technology on 5 June. His thesis answered the question ‘How can we show and improve our confidence in coastal forecasts?’ on the basis of four examples of common coastal forecasts: sea-level rise, storm surges, long-term erosion and morphological predictions a few days ahead.

Fedor Baart said: ‘An important conclusion of my research is that it would be useful to describe the forecasting methods we use, to introduce more standards, and to make agreements about study design. That would make it easier to compare and contrast the results of different approaches to forecasting. Important decisions about where and how the Netherlands deploys its resources, and how much money we spend, rely on these forecasts. Both policymakers and researchers must be able to rely on these coastal forecasts.’

Fedor Baart determined the confidence intervals for each of the four coastal forecasts covered by his study. The new and improved confidence intervals can be used to take more realistic and more cost-effective decisions.

He also drew up a number of recommendations and a checklist for policymakers and researchers for the purposes of examining and comparing coastal forecasts, and for showing confidence in coastal forecasts.


Press Release, June 13, 2013