My area of expertise is in Coastal Engineering. My research covers broad topics including storm to inter-annual shoreline change monitoring and modelling; coastal erosion and beach recovery; dune erosion; remote sensing of the coastal environment; and reef-top hydrodynamics. You can find more information about my work on my GScholar page.
Fields of Research (FoR)Geomorphology and earth surface processes, Marine engineering, Ocean engineering, Natural hazards, Machine learning, Marine Engineering, Ocean Engineering, Marine Geoscience, Physical Oceanography, Natural Hazards, Environmental Engineering Modelling
Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Water Research Laboratory (WRL)
Dr. Kristen Splinter is a Associate Professor at the Water Research Laboratory within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Kristen holds a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Queen's University (Canada), Masters in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering from University of Florida (USA); and a PhD in Geological Oceanography...view more
Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Water Research Laboratory (WRL)
Dr. Kristen Splinter is a Associate Professor at the Water Research Laboratory within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Kristen holds a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Queen's University (Canada), Masters in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering from University of Florida (USA); and a PhD in Geological Oceanography as well as a Certificate in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University (USA). Prior to her position at UNSW Sydney (2011-present) she spent 2 years as a Research Fellow at the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management (Australia).
Kristen's area of expertise is in Coastal Engineering. Her research covers broad topics including storm to inter-annual shoreline change monitoring and modelling; coastal erosion and beach recovery; dune erosion; remote sensing of the coastal environment; and reef-top hydrodynamics. She is part of a dynamic and growing group within #WRLCoastal alongside fellow researchers Dr. Mitch Harley and Prof. Ian Turner. Her groups currently jointly supervises a number of PhD students, post-docs, Masters and Honours theses as well as international interns.
As a female engineer, Kristen has a strong desire to support and encourage more women into the discipline. She currently advocates for better gender equity within the Faculty as a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Chair of the Faculty of Engineering Gender, Equity and Diversity Working Group, and internationally as a committee member of the Women in Coastal Geosciences and Engineering (WICGE). Kristen also serves on the Engineers Australia NSW Coasts, Oceans, and Ports Engineering Panel (COPEP), is an Associate Editor for JGR-Earth Surface, Senior Editor for Cambridge Prisms: Coastal Futures; and is on the Editorial Boards of the Nature Scientific Reports and Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (JMSE), and is the co-founder of the #Coast2Coast seminar series with A/P Giovanni Coco (U. Auckland), A/Prof Ana Vila-Concejo (USyd) and Dr. Mitch Harley (UNSW).
More info can be found about my research and student recruitment at the following pages:
Splinter, Turner, Coco, Palmsten. DP200100134. Quantifying the impact of infiltration on dune erosion under waves & surge. $370K
Turner, Lowe, Greenslade, Plant, Hansen, Splinter. LP170100161. An Australian storm wave damage and beach erosion Early Warning System. $505K
Past Successful Grants
Splinter, Turner. Delivering a beach erosion forecasting system. NSW Environmental Trust. 2017-2019. $144K
Turner, Middleton, Splinter, Reniers, Davidson, Blenkinsopp. Beach Erosion and Recovery: Quantifying the Hazard. ARC Discovery 2015 - 2017. $423K
Castelle, Marieu, Senechal, Ruessink, Idier,Bujan, Ferreira, Splinter (I am a collaborator on 1 part of this grant) Processus cross-shore et longshore combines en morphodynamique littorale (French) ASTRID 2014, Agence de la Reserche (France). 207K euros.
Splinter, Davidson, Blenkinsopp, Turner. Development of a new Coastal Engineering 2-D beach profile model for predicting future coastline response to changing waves and sea-level. UNSW Australia Faculty of Engineering Early Career Research Grant, $20K.
Turner, Middleton, Goodwin, Splinter, Hanslow, Coates. ECL Impacts to beaches. Office of Environment and Heritage NSW Adaptation Research Hub. $66K
Splinter. Development and Application of 2 semi-empirical coastal evolution models to predict coastal change at timescales of days to years along Australian and French wave-dominated coastlines. France-Australia Science Innovation Collaboration (FASIC) Program Early Career Research Fellowship Australian Academy of Science. $5K.
Geological Oceanography. Oregon State University, USA.
Dissertation: Development of 2D Models to Estimate Nearshore Bathymetry and Sediment Transport.
Marine Resource Management. Oregon State University, USA.
Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering. University of Florida, USA.
Thesis: Effects of Three-Dimensional Forcing on Alongshore Currents: A Comparative Study.
Civil Engineering, Environmental Option. 1st Class Honours. Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada.
Thesis: Developing Protocols For Clinker-based Wetland Cells Used for Removing Phosphorus From Wastewater.
(2019) Future Women Leaders Conference Award, Monash University
(2015) Kevin Stark Award (Engineers Australia)
(2012) WRL Excellence Award, UNSW Sydney
My Research Activities
I study how our coastline (namely the beaches) erode and recover from changes in the size of waves, sediment supply, and water levels.
I develop simple numerical models based on broad-scale observations that can predict how beaches change due to changes in wave height and wave period. Two of the models that I have developed are based on the equilibrium concept (like a spring) that can predict the cross-shore movement of sandbars and the shoreline over timescales of days to years.
I also study how beaches change due to storms and their subsequent recovery, having published a large body of work on dune erosion and beach recovery processes based on both field analysis and numerical modelling.
I use remote sensing in a lot of my work. This includes the Google Earth Engine and PlanetLabs for developing new methods of shoreline extraction (For example, check out CoastSat which was developed by PhD student Kilian Vos). I also have a long history is using video/optical remote sensing techniques to study the nearshore. You can check out our coastal imaging stations here: http://ci.wrl.unsw.edu.au/
Recently I have also been involved with research projects to examine the hydrodynamics (waves and water levels) over reefs during extreme (cyclone) conditions. This work is particularly important in the context of rising sea levels and climate change, where Pacific Island Nations may become more vulnerable to these events due to reef submergence and degradation.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
I am looking for talented and motivated engineering students with a keen interest in Coastal Engineering topics related to nearshore processes, sediment dynamics, coastal impacts in a changing climate, dune erosion, numerical modelling of coastal processes and reef-top hydrodynamics. My (virtual) door is always open to chat to prospective students. Please email me for more information.
If you are interested in pursuing Honours or Masters thesis or graduate study with me, email me with your CV, relevant transcripts, why you want to do research with me and interested topics.
Students interested in graduate studies at UNSW are encouraged to use the following resources.
UNSW Scholarship Application Guidelines – International & Domestic schemes(benefits, equity, work and other income), steps to complete application
FAQs for Scholarship applicants – for all scholarship applicants
UNSW Postgraduate Research Handbook – key information on policies, procedures, scholarships, examination, support etc.
Conti, S. Examining the impacts of waves, water levels and moisture content on dune erosion.
Vos, K. Novel Remote Sensing Applications to Quantify and Understand Changing Coasts
Ibaceta, R. Understanding and predicting multi-temporal shoreline variability in the face of inter-decadal variability in waves and sea levels
Leeman, C. Novel Remote Sensing and Machine Learning Applications for Regional Storm Wave Runup Forecasting
Matheen, A.N. Developing a Coastal Erosion Hotspot Early Warning System
Kreller, A.M. (co-supervised with Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) Achieving Fair and Collective Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise
Li, R. Improving the design of hydraulic structures using LIDAR.
Honours/Masters Coursework Thesis students:
Doherty, Y. Near-Daily coastal monitoring with high-resolution PlanetScope Dove satellite imagery
Deng, W. Beach slope variability around the Australian coast from satellite remote imagery
Ul Hassan, W. Shoreline variability along the Pakistan coast from satellite remote imagery
Liu, C. Shoreline variability along the China coast from satellite remote imagery
I have graduated 4 PhD students, 2 MPhil student and supervised over 30 ME and Honours students in their final year theses.
Invited to Review: Funding bodies: Australian Research Council (ARC DECRA and LIEF schemes, Australia); National Science Foundation (NSF, USA); ISAAC Program (Netherlands).
Invited to Review: Journals: Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR); Journal of Hydraulic Engineering; Continental Shelf Research; Coastal Engineering; Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering; Natural Hazards; Journal of Coastal Research; International Journal of Event Management Research; Applied Ocean Research; Environmental Monitoring and Assessment; IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering; Environmental Monitoring and Assessment; Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, Remote Sensing, Coasts and Ports Conference Series.
Editorial Boards: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering.
Conference Organising Committee: ICCE (2020); Empowering Female Leadership in Marine Science Workshop (2019); Coasts and Ports (2017); Conference on Women in Engineering (2001)
Conference Session Organiser/Chair/Judge: AGU Fall Meeting Machine Learning in Earth Surface Processes (2018-present); Estuarine, coastal, and shelf science conference (2018); AGU Ocean Sciences (2016); AGU Fall Meeting Nearshore Processes (2010, 2012, 2014); International Coastal Symposium (2013); Coasts and Ports (2013)
Professional committees: Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering, Engineers Australia NSW Coastal, Ocean, and Port Engineering Panel (COPEP)
I currently teach in the following courses.
CVEN 9640/9640d: Coastal Engineering
CVEN 2501: Principles of Water Engineering
CVEN 9620/9620d: Rivers, Channels, and Estuaries