New dike to probe intensity of climate change storms

How hard do waves batter the Flemish coast?  To find an answer to this intriguing question a test dike is being constructed in Raversijde in Ostend.  The sea defence will be built in re-enforced concrete on the beach and will measure 20 metres by 20 metres.

Equipped with sensors the dike will collect data on the power with which waves batter our Flemish coastline during stormy weather over the next seven years. Until now tests like this were only conducted using theoretical models or in labs. The Raversijde experiment is unique for Flanders and Belgium.

It’s the MDK, the Maritime Services and Coast Agency that will building the construction. The research will be conducted at Ghent University and the hydraulic engineering lab within the framework of the Climate Resilient Coast or Crest Project. 

The new dike will be constructed on the beach that appears at low tide.  It will allow scientists to collect data on wave action and wave power.  Three further measuring posts will be erected to collect information.  A buoy, in deeper water, will measure waves too. All the data will be brought together at a unit on the seafront.

Forty storms big enough to be monitored and mapped out are anticipated over the next seven years.  Researchers hope to glean information on global warming and how we can improve sea defences against storms triggered by climate change.

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