- 20th June 2017
- Posted by: Sophie Smith
- Category: News
The Coasts & Ports Conference takes place on 21-23 June. It is the pre-eminent forum in the Australasian region for professionals to meet and discuss multi-disciplinary issues related to coasts and ports.
The conference theme “Working with Nature” reflects the increasing recognition of the need to design and operate projects from a perspective that places the natural environment at the forefront of the project, to benefit the community and nature.
It will bring together engineers, planners, scientists and researchers in Cairns. They’ll focus on the technological, scientific, policy, planning and design issues related to our diverse and developing coasts.
Dan Rodgers, JBP Managing Director, and Mark Lawless, JBA Director, are both presenting at the conference.
JBP provide specialist Weather Risk Management services for Australia and the wider Pacific region. Now established in Queensland, they are joined by experts from a range of backgrounds – including science, engineering, hydrology and forecasting. They integrate new technology within a range of traditional science, engineering, construction and transport sectors.
Lessons learned from getting soaked
Mark is presenting on ‘Lessons learned from getting soaked: the use of metocean decision support frameworks to optimise coastal and marine operations,’ on the Wednesday at 11:10 am.
Working in Australia’s coastal zone is extremely challenging. However, whilst the environment is unique the risks are not. There is a lot to gain by adopting several innovative approaches developed internationally by organisations trying to balance environmental risks with safety and efficiency.
The presentation explores the importance of learning from those who have been soaked for some time! It considers the importance of learning from the shipping, marine construction and engineering industry. Two approaches have the most potential for use in Australia.
The first is a framework for optimising coastal operations in relation to finance and risks. This method uses ‘Gamer Mode technology’. It combines hindcast metocean data with planned activities, routes and vessels, simulating the impact of different scenarios over a project lifetime. This could include harbour construction, dredging and nourishment works, or selection of a shipping strategy. The user can test different activity schedules, plant and start dates. By playing out different scenarios the simulation provides an evidence base for selecting the most beneficial strategy, producing financial performance and duration estimates.
The second framework is a forecasting and decision support approach designed to guide operations’ days, weeks and months in advance. This ‘Mission Planner’ uses forecast data to drive high resolution numerical modelling over the footprint of operations. Using these data, the framework determines whether the forecast conditions will exceed the safe operating tolerances of the activity. This could include planning for shipping berths, construction activities, or ship-based dredging works, aimed at reducing risks before and during operations.
Although these techniques have been applied to international ports and construction projects, they provide valuable lessons that can now be adopted in Australia, and applied to its complex and diverse environment.
Out of the blue
Dan’s talk is also on the Wednesday at 2:50pm. The topic being ‘Out of the blue: Could Australia adopt coastal forecasting systems to benefit coastal engineering.’
For local councils, marine contractors and emergency services, working on Australia’s coastline means experiencing a range of coastal extremes. This could lead to infrastructure damage, erosion, wave overtopping and coastal flooding. Facing similar risks, many European countries have turned to coastal risk forecasting systems as a form of cost-effective, non-structural mitigation.
This presentation discusses the most comprehensive system developed to date: the integrated Moray Firth Coastal Forecasting System which is now operational in Scotland. It considers its configuration, validation, and potential application of such systems as a form of coastal risk management in Australia.
In mid-2015, the Moray Firth comprehensive coastal flood forecasting system was launched by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The system covers approximately 800 kilometers of coastline, encompassing three local government areas, 44 coastal communities and three harbours. Its role is to downscale regional forecasts issued by the national weather provider. It combines coastal, fluvial and pluvial weather feeds to estimate the final storm tide (total sea level), nearshore wave height, wave overtopping rate, rainfall-runoff, river flows, tidal interaction and the resulting coastal flood inundation – with forecasts extending between 48 hours and five days in advance.
Before being made operational, the forecasting system was subject to a long-term performance assessment. It was run for 14 years of historic data through an offline simulation to evaluate its performance in predicting storm tide, nearshore waves, and wave overtopping. This information was used to understand how the system would have reacted and, importantly, improve the system before it was made operational.
These systems are beginning to receive wider recognition within Australia as environmental risks are balanced with safety and efficiency. With the key benefits including earlier warning of risks at an asset- or beach-specific level, their application may benefit Government, Councils, shipping and contractors alike.