The Coastal Engineering Research Field Station (CERFS) project consists of instrument modules for measuring waves, tides, currents, seabed and beach profiles and sediment characteristics. It aims to address critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of coastal processes including the impacts of climate variability and change, and generate long-term data-sets for calibration of coastal models against Australian conditions.

This research is expected to lead to improved techniques to address coastal infrastructure design, beach management strategies and impact assessment to meet the challenges of future major coastal development. This will be a nationally-relevant facility, building on five decades of Gold Coast coastal research.

Research Objectives

Building effective, resilient and economically viable coastal infrastructure and communities is a global challenge, particularly in the face of natural hazards and future impacts of sea level rise and an increase in the frequency and intensity of severe weather events. This project aims to provide Australia with research infrastructure essential to meet future needs in relation to coastal management, protection and energy generation in a changing climate.

Impact Statement

This will be a nationally-relevant facility unique in the Southern Hemisphere enabling integration with international coastal engineering research programs. The coastal process data obtained will lead to improved models, management strategies and design guidelines. This will benefit decision-makers in reducing the risk to coastal communities, coastal ecosystems and maritime operations from the challenges of extreme storms, climate change, infrastructure development and urbanisation.


Module 1

Wave and Currents Radar: real time wave conditions

Monitoring of local wave conditions in real time using a WAMOS II radar to observe wave conditions and patterns from 1km offshore and across the shoaling zone

Module 2

Metocean Water Quality Buoy: Coastal Ocean Reference Station

A coastal ocean reference station moored offshore will telemeter real time current, wave and water quality data

Module 3

Seabed Installation: seabed sediment characteristics

A sediment characteristics and profile evolution system will consist of particle imagine of sediment size distributions, multibeam sonar equipment to record bed depth and immediate sub-surface bed density variations, an acoustic backscatter sensor to monitor sediment mobilisation and altimeters to measure sea bed level changes

Module 4

Bunker Installation: storm surge monitoring

A storm surge monitoring system will obtain measurements of mean water surface level and wave fluctuations at numerous locations across the surf zone during storms out to 1.2km offshore

Module 5

Camera Remote Sensing

A camera remote sensing system based on the jetty will enable high resolution imaging of the littoral wave zone that will validate wave information recorded with Modules 1 & 4

Module 6

Beach Shelf Profile Surveying: beach profile survey

A beach profile survey system using a laser-based profiler mounted on an existing vehicle

Module 7

Mobile Instrumentation Platforms: mobile seabed instrumentation

A mobile seabed instrument platform with reference buoy and current measurements couple with a submersible seabed instrument sled with attendant velocity and motion measurement package for detailed near bed measurements to be taken across the surf zone

Module 8

Software and Network Commissioning: jetty base station and control hub

A jetty-based base station and control hub to stream all data real-time to the Griffith University HPC data storage. A 10m long instrumentation boom will be deployed from the jetty so that measurements can be taken away from the influence of the jetty

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