University of Bath: Investigating Impact of Waves

An international research project led by the University of Bath is investigating the impact of waves on coastlines using novel laser measurement devices.

The equipment is similar to laser measurement devices used in construction, except it is able to measure 37,500 points a second. This capability means these ‘Lidar’ devices are able to scan each individual wave as it breaks and measure the changing elevation of the water surface.

This technology is mounted above the water level to structures such as piers and can produce an animation of the breaking waves as well as calculating the amount of sand being displaced from the waves.

Dr Chris Blenkinsopp from the University of Bath’s Water Innovation & Research Centre is leading the project team which includes international colleagues from the University of Newcastle, Australia, and the University of Delaware, USA.

The Waves in Shallow Water (WASH) project has been funded by a £100,000 Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant in which the research team are measuring the effect of breaking waves in two very different locations – in Saltburn in Northwest England and Valparaiso in Chile.

It is hoped that the results of the project will enable relevant authorities to better predict any future risks from wave power and improve the resilience of coastal management, as well as ensuring the maintenance of beaches is informed and effective.


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