Telespazio UK’s Post-Storm Beach Recovery Project Awarded Funding for UNFCCC COP-26 Demonstration

13 August 2020

Telespazio UK has been selected by ESA and Future Earth to understand the patterns of post-storm beach recovery under future climate change scenarios, working alongside The Griffith Centre for Coastal Management.

  • Telespazio UK awarded funding by ESA and Future Earth to strengthen the impact of research data on real world climate change scenarios
  • The project will focus on the Gold Coast, Australia, with the aim to apply results globally 
  • Telespazio UK will be supported by Future Earth Coasts and The Griffith Centre for Coastal Management

Telespazio UK, a subsidiary of Telespazio – a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%) – is selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Future Earth to understand the patterns of post-storm beach recovery under future climate change scenarios. Telespazio UK will spearhead the research along with The Griffith Centre for Coastal Management.

The project will use satellite data from earth observation (Sentinel-1) and ESA Sea State CCI L3 to study a time series of tidelines referenced against observations of storm events and calm conditions to investigate the relationship between wave height and net erosion/accretion. This demonstration is a cost-effective approach of addressing critical data gaps around the Gold Coast, historically known to suffer from storms and associated beach erosion.

The desired outcome of the project is to understand erosion/accretion impacts of storm events around the Gold Coast, and will have the following key benefits:

  1. Synthesis of existing information of the changing state of coasts in terms of risks and future trends
  2. Provision of insight to coastal management processes to foster resilient communities that can adapt and mitigate the effects of storm events
  3. Understanding natural hazards and their link to global climate change

The project has received support from stakeholders of coastal environments in the UK who are looking to advance their efforts to forecast, prepare and protect the country’s coastlines against severe storm events. 

The project kicked off at the start of July 2020 and will be completed by the end of February 2021 ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP-26) in Glasgow, Scotland. The research demonstration through COP-26 will be a step towards commercial and operational uptake, with an aim to carry out projects globally. 

Dr Susanne Mecklenburg, Head of the ESA Climate Office, said: “This project explores a societally-relevant application of the ESA Climate Change Initiative (CCI) data record for sea state that we hope will be of significant interest for decision makers responding to the challenges of climate change at coasts around the globe. The newly-released ESA CCI Sea State dataset provides global significant wave height from satellite altimetry, spanning 1991 to 2018.” 

Andrew Iwanoczko, Head of Geo Information Marketing and Sales at Telespazio UK, said: “Understanding the dynamics of climate change at the land-sea interface and developing adaptation strategies that do not rely on hard engineering, represent a significant challenge for coastal towns, cities and communities across the world. Telespazio recognises the outcome of this research has global applicability in transforming the information insights that future coastal adaptation strategies, and their communities, shall rely upon.”

Professor Rodger Tomlinson, Director of Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, said: “We are very pleased to partner with Telespazio UK on this award; we believe the project can significantly advance our work on analysing climate change impacts on coastlines. Predominant parts of the Gold Coast area are data deficient and could vastly benefit from remote sensing data. We look forward to collaborating with the team from Telespazio UK towards transformative results that will have potential global applicability.”