Dr. Jessica Johnson, ENV/UEA
Dr. Andres Payo Garcia, BGS
Prof. Jonathan Chambers, BGS
One of the great environmental challenges the UK faces now is coastal erosion and cliff instability (1). Fast and active coastal erosion casts shadows on coastal community livelihood and endangers critical infrastructure. Although a natural process, coastal erosion is exacerbated due to climate change and sea level rise. A series of natural factors, such as strength of the rocks making up the coast, weather (rainfall, storms etc) and its seasonal variations, and wave energy, together with human factors, such as existing coastal defences, jointly affect the eroding rate and cliff stability.
This project focuses on the North Norfolk coast, one of fastest eroding sites in the UK. We aim to better understand the active cliff erosion cycle, with a particular emphasis on the processes leading up to cliff failure and the underlying factors that affects the timing and size of failure. We will use distributed fibre optic sensors to monitor tiny ground movement at unprecedented resolution. This cutting-edge technique converts optic cable to an array of distributed sensors taking dense and continuous measurements in space ang time. The dataset offers unique opportunity to learn how ground deformation changes with weather, geology and wave energy (2). This helps identify informative signal that are indicative of processes leading up to cliff failure. We will establish the temporal and spatial evolution of subsurface seismic velocity change (3,4,5), to reveal whether there is any seasonal variability in hydrogeological conditions (5) that may impact the frequency and magnitude of cliff failure.
The individual will benefit from working with the multidisciplinary supervisory team and gain key skills in large-scale data processing and preparing scientific results for publication and presentation. The individual will have the opportunity to participate in data retrieval on the beautiful Norfolk coast, and to further shape the project focus, depending on research interest.
We seek an enthusiastic individual who must have a degree in a relevant geoscience, physical sciences or computing discipline. The individual should be numerically literate and experience of programming and Unix based operating systems is desirable.