Sea-level rise and enhanced storminess, driven by climate change, is greatly increasing coastal vulnerability and the impacts of coastal recession worldwide.

Although coastal cliffs provide valuable natural protection, they also present rockfall and landslide hazards; thus, understanding the processes involved in coastal recession is vital in order to implement appropriate sustainable management strategies to carefully maintain natural defences. This project will use detailed 3D models from data collected by terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assess active coastal sites for change.

Critically, the work will develop the use of a new technique for detecting change at specified confidence levels. This will be applied to models based on UAV data, and validated through comparison with TLS surveys. Consequently, the project aims to tackle the central challenge of providing a quantitative assessment of the vulnerability of coastal cliffs to storms and sea-level rise through deriving uncertainty-bounded measurements of topographic change.

The project will involve UAV and TLS data collection in the UK, in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS). The student would gain experience in state-of-the-art processing techniques for such data and would develop a range of remote sensing and geohazard expertise.

Suitable training (e.g. UAV piloting) would be provided throughout the project and the student would be working closely with a range of experts at Manchester University and the BGS as well as at Lancaster. The project will have worldwide relevance and also direct links with applied aspects of geohazard monitoring and management in the UK.

As a jointly supervised Phd student with BGS you will benefit from short term access typically 1–2 months in 1–2 week periods, to equipment and data and BGS. You will also be invited to present at the BUFI Science Festival http://www.bgs.ac.uk/research/bufi/ScienceFestivals.html and other training opportunities with BGS.

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Environmental Science, Geography or Natural Sciences.

For further details please contact Dr Mike James m.james@lancaster.ac.uk