Impact of sea level rise, land reclamation and tidal power plants on regional tidal dynamics

Electronic versions


  • Holly Pelling

    Research areas

  • PhD, School of Ocean Sciences


The response of regional tidal dynamics to sea level rise (SLR), tidal power plants (TPPs), land reclamation and a combination of the above was investigated using two tidal models. The impact of SLR was investigated on, and tidal models validated for, the European Shelf, the Bay of Fundy and the Bohai Sea. The tidal response varied greatly between regions; however the method in which SLR was implemented within the tidal models also caused significant variation in the response. When sea level was increased but no land was allowed to flood (i.e. the coastline did not move) the change in tidal by processes that involved the increased water depth (such as tidal resonance). However, when land was allowed to flood the response was governed by the change in the spatial distribution of tidal energy dissipation. The maximum extractable tidal energy and the impact of the extraction of this energy in the Minas Passage were investigated on the tidal regime of the Bay of Fundy. It was found that the impacts were significant and wide spread. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that SLR could increase the maximum extractable tidal energy. The tides of the Bay of Fundy are close to resonance and SLR with no flooding caused the system to move closer to resonance. However when flooding was enabled the system did not move towards resonance, suggesting the change in tidal dissipation dampened the response. The Bohai Sea has undergone rapid and extensive natural and anthropogenic land reclamation. Tidal gauge observations show that the tidal regime has responded significantly to these changes. We have been able to reproduce these changes using a tidal model, furthermore, future simulations show that the tides of the Bohai Sea may have become more sensitive to impacts of SLR. It was found that the regional tides investigated were particularly sensitive to changes in the spatial distribution of ideal energy dissipation. As demonstrated by the investigation of practical scenarios.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • NERC
Award dateJan 2014