18393 - Coastal Risks and Dynamics

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the main natural and anthropogenic processes interacting at different temporal and spatial scales on coastal evolution. Moreover, the students should be able: to plan monitoring activities for the study of the physical coastal system; to approach the major threat, such as coastal erosion and flooding or extreme events; to identify possible coastal defence policies.

Course contents

Introduction: coastal zone: definition and limits, classification approaches. Spatial and temporal scales in littoral dynamics. Main hydrodynamic processes acting in the coastal zone: wind, waves and currents, tides and storm surges.

Sea-level variations: causes of sea-level variations at long, medium and short term. Sea level measurement. Estimates of global sea-level rise and predicted scenarios.
Coastal geomorphology: cliffed coasts and factors affecting their evolution.  Evidences of vertical movements and relative sea-level changes along coastal tracts. Wave- and tide-dominated littoral systems. Deltas and estuaries.
The beach: hydrodynamic and morphological profile, the control of the wave climate or sea-level changes. Littoral circulation models and sediment transport. Morphodynamic classification: characteristics of dissipative and reflective beaches. 
Main traditional and updated techniques for coastal study and monitoring. Coastal erosion: natural and anthropogenic causes and possible defense policies. Human efforts to mitigate wave action and to protect the coasts. Coastal vulnerability to extreme events: storm surges, hurricanes, tsunamis, submarine landslides. Approaches to coastal risk assessment.


Main texts :

Pranzini E., 2004. La forma delle coste. Zanichelli

A.D. Short, 2001. Handbook of Beach and Shoreface Morphodynamics. John Wiley &Sons.
Davis R.A. & Fitzgerald D.M., 2004. Beaches and Coasts. Blackwell science.
Davidson-Arnott R., 2010. Introduction to Coastal Processes and Geomorphology. Cambridge University Press

Teaching methods

Lectures (corresponding to 4 credits).

Assessment methods

Final oral examination.

Teaching tools

Slides are used for lectures. A copy of these and further documentation will be available to students at the Unibo repository web site (AMS Campus - AlmaDL - Università di Bologna,http://campus.unibo.it).

Office hours

See the website of Claudia Romagnoli