2020 Coastal Engineering and Oceanography

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Nakamura Takashi  Nakagawa Yasuyuki  Kanae Shinjiro 
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Course description and aims

Oceans are, along with space, one of the great frontiers of the human race. Recently, it has been noticed that the ocean plays a key role in the processes of water/heat balance and material cycles in the geosphere-hydrosphere-atmosphere related to global environmental problems such as global warming. The coastal area is a connecting area between ocean and land, and experiences higher human activity. In our country, buildings and roads have been extended to near the shoreline because the inhabitable area is small and limited, and the coastal area is facing dangers from high waves and high tide due to typhoons, tsunamis, etc. Therefore, how to protect the hinterland from these disasters has been a large issue. Tsunami damage due to the Great East Japan Earthquake in Mar. 2011 is obvious proof of how serious the issue is. Moreover, rising sea-levels, larger typhoons, etc. due to global warming are expected. Thus, these are becoming additional issues. The coastal area is also characterized as an area of higher primary production and biodiversity. However, the area is affected by many kinds of environmental loads because of a connecting area between land and ocean. In fact, wide scale degradation of important ecosystems, such as the tidal flat, seagrass/seaweed, coral reef ecosystems, etc., are progressing. Therefore, a suitable conservation plan and action are required.
Coast/ocean have some different phenomena from open channels or pipe flows learned in hydraulics. Wave phenomena such as “wind wave”, “swell”, “tide”, “tsunami”, etc. are good examples of the specific characteristics. Several types of current phenomena, such as “ocean current”, “tidal current”, “wind induced current”, “nearshore current” also exist, and hydrokinetics in the coast/ocean remain complex and highly varied. The background mechanics of the phenomena are much different from channel/pipe flows acting as a simple unidirectional flow induced by gravity and a pressure gradient. In this course, the instructor explains the basic theories for various types of waves and currents in coastal areas with their physical processes, and issues of wave forces on coastal structures and nearshore sediment transport, which are important for coastal engineering. Moreover, the instructor explains important aspects of coastal environmental problems, fishery/marine resource problems, integrated coastal zone management, the relationship with global environmental problems, etc., and the outlines of future coastal ecosystem conservation are discussed.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this class, students will be able to:
1) understand the basic theories on various types of waves and currents in coastal areas with their physical processes,
2) understand mechanisms and quantitative evaluation methods of nearshore sediment transport with their control methods,
3) understand the important aspects of coastal environmental problems and the points for the coastal ecosystem conservation,


Water wave dynamics, tides, storm surge, tsunami, tidal & ocean currents, littoral drift & beach deformation, coastal environmental problems, coastal ecosystem conservation, global environmental problems, Integrated coastal zone management, sustainable fishery resource management

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Guidance on the course plan will be given at the first lecture. The presentation material for each lecture will be uploaded onto OCW-i before the lecture. Brief tests will be conducted at some lectures. In addition to the 14 lectures, students will visit the Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI).

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction, Basic theory on water waves Examples to show importance of coastal disaster prevention and environmental conservation issues will be given with a guidance on the lecture plan. Students will learn about basic characteristics of water waves as a kind of interfacial waves.
Class 2 Nearshore wave deformation (wave shoaling, refraction, diffraction, reflection and breaking) To learn the mechanism and quantitative evaluation methods on nearshore wave deformation.
Class 3 Tidal waves, storm surge, Tsunami, Tidal currents, ocean currents, and wind-induced currents To learn generation mechanism on tides, storm surge, Tsunami, tidal & ocean currents, and wind-induced currents
Class 4 Coastal environmental system and its numerical simulation To understand the basics of numerical simulation techniques for reproducing and predicting the coastal environment
Class 5 Mechanism of coastal sediment transport (littoral drift) and siltation including nearshore currents To learn generation mechanism and characteristics of nearshore currents and sediment transport
Class 6 Budget of littoral drift and nearshore deformation, Countermeasures and control of beach deformation To learn mechanism of beach deformation in terms of the budget of littoral drift and countermeasures of beach deformation
Class 7 Visit to Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI) To visit Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI) and submit a report on the visit

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

Horikawa, Kiyoshi. “Coastal Engineering”. University of Tokyo Press, ISBN-13: 978-4130611084 (in Japanese, original title translated)
Unoki, Sanae; Kubota, Masahisa. “Wave and Currents in the Ocean”. Tokai University Press, ISBN-13: 978-4486013808 (in Japanese)
Kuriyama, Yoshiaki. “Beach Dynamics -Monitoring, Prediction, and Countermeasures”. Gihodo Shuppan, ISBN-13: 978-4486013808 (in Japanese, original title translated)

Assessment criteria and methods

Learning achievement is evaluated by combining results from brief tests 85 %, and report about PARI visit 15 %.

Related courses

  • ZUT.B202 : Hydraulics I

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)



The schedule of PARI's visit will be later determined.

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