Dr Miot da Silva has turned her attention to South Australian waters, establishing a network of wave observations in the Gulf Saint Vincent for a collaborative project between Flinders and the South Australian Research and Development Institute.
For the past 12 months three lightweight buoys have been deployed in waters of various depths in the gulf, collecting and transmitting data on wave height, sea surface temperature, and wind speeds and direction.
Over time this data will help build a novel understanding of the changing wave climate in the region and facilitate coastal management studies to improve coastal adaption, health, and resilience.
“We developed a website that displays the data, and anyone can go there (www.sawaves.org), view and download the data to use as they like,” Dr Graziela da Silva says.
“The longer the data sets, the more we can understand how the wave systems are changing in the long term. In 10- or 20-years’ time someone can analyse the data and see how the waves have been increasing in height or not.
“We also use this data in numerical models that help us understand what’s happening now but also to make predictions for the future. How much the beach will erode if the sea level rises a certain amount or if storms become stronger more frequently, how much coastal erosion is going to happen?”
Dr Miot da Silva also has a strong interest in understanding the impacts of climate change on coastal systems.
She says changes in weather systems are causing bigger storms to develop in comparison to past events, causing coastal erosion, flooding and changes to the landscape.
One of these changes include the development of new coastal dune fields – known as transgressive dune fields that move inland – following big weather events.
“If you have strong storms the waves might kill the vegetation that's on the foredune (the first dune behind the beach),” Dr Miot da Silva says.