SARCCM Capacity and capabilities statement

The vision of The Sino-Australian Research Centre for Coastal Management (SARCCM) is to become a world leader in coastal integrated research with a focus on observation and numerical modelling of coastal and estuarine processes, to support sustainable development and improve management of the coastal zones worldwide.

SARCCM has a proven track record of providing high-quality research outcomes to inform coastal zone management, e.g. (i) numerical simulations of Darwin Harbour have indicated that if the mangroves and tidal flats were reclaimed, the total sediment flux would be orientated reversely from seaward to landward causing increased harbour siltation. (ii) A recent study on the impact of Chinese land reclamation on tides in Korea has predicted that planned reclamation of coastal wetlands on China’s Jiangsu coast will lead to an immediate increase in the high tide level of 400 mm on the coast of Korea. This will cause frequent flooding in the low lying areas including Incheon and Mokpo, and dwarfs the current IPCC estimation of sea level rise due to global warming of 1.7 mm/year. (iii) One of the most challenging problems in the Yangtze Estuary is the severe silting in the Deepwater Navigation Channel (DNC) of Shanghai Port. The annual amount of dredging for maintaining the DNC in 2013 exceeded 100 million m3 , with an estimated dredging cost of AUD$780 million. Research undertaken by SARCCM has shown that the upstream non-local sediment intrusion through the spill-over-mechanism at the opening of the DNC is a major source of the sediment trapping in the DNC after the morphological changes.

SARCCM is a Research Centre of the University of New South Wales-Australia with a multidisciplinary/multi-faculty research focus on coastal problems. SARCCM was established in November 2010, and resides in the School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences (PEMS). It has a productive team of researchers from UNSW and its collaborative organizations include the University of Wollongong, University of Technology (Sydney), and Central Queensland University. Since 2010, SARCCM has attracted strong interest from the national and international scientific community as well as industry partners in Australia and China. The need for SARCCM has increased and matured since its establishment. This is demonstrated by an expanding research network of collaborators from scientists, government managers, as well as industrialists both in Australia and China. SARCCM is currently working with Australian and Chinese institutions on the matter of management and development in coastal eco-systems. Key partnerships include sustained collaboration and competitive grant applications with the Ocean University of China (OUC), Qingdao City Construction Investment Ltd (QCCI), and the Marina Industry Association of Australia (MIA).

SARCCM’s key capability is research and research training in observing and modelling hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and the biochemical processes in coastal environments (bays, harbours, estuaries and their adjacent shelf waters). An emerging capability is in research higher degree training in environmental management that combines human and biophysical research insights into actionable knowledge.

SARCCM is collaborating on the World Harbour Project (WHP) with the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences (SIMS). For the next 3-5 years SARCCM will be undertaking research in Jiaozhou Bay (China), and thus providing expertise on hydrodynamics and sediment transport dynamics for the WHP. Expanding collaboration in other countries will enhance the visualization of the Centre by the international scientific community, e.g. an Indonesian coastal management research frontier is being established in 2014 using SARCCM as an incubator.

Further details on the Centre and research themes are available: