Course code UPM119
Course title Complex Coastal Hazards
Institution Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Course address ETSI Minas y EnergĂ­a
City Madrid
Minimum year of study 4th year
Minimum level of English Good
Minimum level of French None
Key words Cliff, recession, tsunami, inundation, hazard,modeling,complexity
Language English
Professor responsible Carlos Paredes Bartolomé
Telephone +34 91 3367048
Fax +34913367051
Participating professors

Carlos Paredes Bartolomé (UPM)

Ricardo Castedo Ruiz (UPM)

Rogelio de la Vega Panizo (UPM)

Miguel Llorente Isidro (IGME)
Number of places Minimum: 10, Maximum: 25, Reserved for local students:


The general objective is to train students so they can face complex coastal hazards study, analysis, conceptualization and modelling, focusing mainly in coastal cliff recession and tsunami driven coastal floods. Such training provides some of the basic inputs for decision makers and spatial planning of communities prone to such hazards.



Students will get to know the practical theoretical and framework:

Hydrodynamic processes acting in the coastal zone which causes main variations inland and the principal geomorphologic and geotechnical characteristics which controls the erosion/deposition regime in sand and rocky coasts, to develop mathematical models capable of simulating its evolution.

Tsunami and flood coupled dynamics according to the possible origin, earthquake or landslide induced, of tsunami wave front, the effect of sea bathymetry in the traveling time and energy, the wave arrival and its flood effect caused.

Remote sensing and characterization techniques (RPAS, aerial, satellite, ground-based) applied to the aforementioned coastal hazards, as well as the methods and interpretation of mapping such hazards as a useful tool in the land managing process of such kind.
Programme to be followed

The main topics boarded in this course are:

Introduction: coastal zone: definition and limits, classification approaches. Spatial and temporal scales in littoral dynamics. Main hydrodynamic processes acting in the coastal zone: wind, waves and currents, tides and storm surges. Causes of sea-level variations at long, medium and short term.

Coastal geomorphology: beach and rocky coasts, factors affecting their evolution.

Coastal morphodynamics: morphological and hydrodynamic beach and cliff profiles. Wave shoaling and breaking. Sediment transport in the coastal zone. Beach and cliff profile evolution induced by waves and tides. Conceptual model to mathematical modelling approach and numerical simulations.

Tsunami and inundation coupled dynamics: tsunami geodynamic origin: earthquakes, landslide and others, the tsunami wave propagation. Tsunami hazard assessment: catalogue completeness. Tsunami inundation: conceptual model to mathematical modelling approach and numerical simulations. Tsunami vulnerability assessment, the PTVA-3 model.

Coastal vulnerability to unexpected, sporadic events: cliff recession and tsunami inundation. Approaches to coastal risk assessment.

Remote sensing and surveying in natural coastal hazards: image analysis for earth surface characterization, map production useful in risk management.

The course will have a web site at moodle platform that will be updated on time, where available texts, slides, and lab material and documents could be found to follow the course and prepare evaluation.

The course will be easy for students who have already attended Geological engineering, civil engineering, geology, normal graduate contents.

Having interest, worry and curiosity about, rare, sporadic and difficult to understand, because of its complexity, coastal hazards affecting the daily development of life close to the earth coastline, and its occurrence produces large disasters / human disasters.
Course exam

Students will be evaluated based on the following tasks:

Answers during class/labs sessions

Small open questions quiz for each module program (via moodle)

Short presentation of personal projects

Short written description of their personal project