AN OVERVIEW OF MY RESEARCH
I am a Lecturer in Physical Geography (Coastal Geomorphology) working on coastal hydrodynamics, hazards, and risk at Newcastle University, UK. My primary research interests are:
- coastal hazards and community resilience
- rip currents and beach safety
- beach storm response
- tectonic impacts on mixed sediment beaches
- mixed sand gravel beach dynamics
My research involves a number of technical methods, such as ground penetrating radar, GPS surf zone drifters, coastal imaging remote sensing systems and UAV survey.
In addition to my primary research interests, I am also involved with the SurgeWatch website, compiling a database of UK Coastal Flood Events, and am currently working with Surf Lifesaving New Zealand to develop their SafeSwim app to give real time hazard warnings based on hydrodynamic parameters
Dr Seb Pitman
Pictured here with a drifter for a rip current study in New Zealand, 2015. Photo credit: Carey Conn.
MY RECENT PUBLICATIONS
Our new study wanted to understand a little more about why we’re seeing 700+ rip current related rescues each year in New Zealand. We found up to 78% of people were unable to spot the rip current that was directly in front of them at the beach.
When rips get taught in schools, it is generally through the use of photographs. We found that 2/3 of the people that could spot a rip in a photo still could not do it in real life – our approach to education needs to change.
Here’s a sample of the news coverage from our rip paper
Take a look at the video above to hear us argue for a modernisation of beach safety education to maximise the impact and reduce drowning.
Full story at the link below.
GRAVEL BEACH CUSPS
This paper outlines our UAV-based approach to the study of beach cusps on composite and coarse grained beaches.
Using this method, we can explicitly link morphology of the cusps to the surface sediment distribution (i.e. gravel or sand), which is crucial for understanding cusp evolution.
COASTAL RESPONSE TO EARTHQUAKES
Here is an excellent poster by one of my students, detailing how the mixed sand gravel beaches around Kaikoura have responded to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nov 2016.
Keeping Kiwis Safe This Summer
This summer, through a partnership with Surf Life Saving NZ and TSB, an active part of my research concerns rip current and beach safety here in New Zealand. Have you seen the #RelaxRaiseRide campaign yet?