Coastal Impact


Researchers at UNSW Canberra are playing a vital role in developing strategies to manage coastal changes and protect coastal systems for future generations. Our research focuses on the observation and numerical modelling of coastal environments and sea-level changes due to the impacts of climate change, anthropogenic interventions and mesoscale atmospheric modelling of landfalling tropical cyclones. This research supports sustainable development and improves the management of coastal zones both in Australia and worldwide.

Our research is conducted through two main research groups:

Our research covers:

  • Coastal Oceanography – utilising cutting-edge technologies to explore the interactions of marine ecosystems and common environmental stressors within estuarine and coastal waters.
  • Coastal and marine natural resource management – developing a scientific and technical understanding of natural resources and marine ecology to influence the policies and practices responsible for protecting and optimising these environmental assets.
  • Remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) - utilising computer-based tools and sensors to map and analyse the Earth’s surface to assist in the sustainable management of natural resources and address the threats of climate change.

Successful Applications

  • Successfully produced numerical simulations of Darwin Harbour which indicate that if the mangroves and tidal flats are reclaimed, the total sediment flux could be orientated reversely from seaward to landward causing increased harbour siltation.
  • Successfully developed marine microplastic tracking model TrackMPD. The model tracked and predicted the dispersion of lost cargo debris due to the Port Stephens shipping container spill in May 2018. 

We work closely with the Ocean University of China and several other Chinese partners in collaborative research on coastal oceanography and management. The UNSW Canberra campus and several faculties of UNSW in Sydney contribute to the Research Consortium.


  • Determining and understanding the impact of regional climate on estuarine physical processes under the influence of climate change on the east coast of Australia 
  • On the East Australian Current Encroachment: Remote Sensing, Quantitative Mapping and Spatio-temporal Variability 
  • Downscale modelling of a macro-tidal estuary under climatic and anthropogenic scenarios: Where is Darwin Harbour heading 
  • Estuarine circulation and sediment transport during cyclone induced storm surge in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta 
  • Development of a coupled catchment-ocean model for sediment transport in the coastal oceans