PhD student and Forrest Scholar working to protect WA coast

12/07/2022 | 5 mins (including 2 min video)


A PhD student and Forrest Scholar at The University of Western Australia is helping develop an early-warning system to protect Western Australia’s coastline.

Thalles Araujo, from the School of Earth Sciences, UWA Oceans Institute and UWA Data Institute, is a coastal oceanographer passionate about applying mathematics and physics to geosciences.

Originally from Brazil, Mr Araujo said he aimed to understand the physical processes that lead to coastal flooding and erosion in Perth and how hazards could impact the coastline under different scenarios of climate change.

“Developing such knowledge is critical as over 85 per cent of Australia's population lives in coastal regions and, in the current times of climate change, coastal hazards are already destroying infrastructure and posing risks to human lives,” he said.

Mr Araujo combines fieldwork, data science, and numerical modelling to understand and predict flooding and erosion along WA’s coastline.

“Beginning my research at a local scale, I am currently investigating the drivers of coastal change at Pyramids Beach in Mandurah, WA, where nearshore reefs cause more complex coastal response than at beaches without reefs, which have been the focus of research historically,” he said.

Mr Araujo uses nearshore remote sensing techniques including drone surveys and automated cameras as well as field measurements such as tide gauges and wave buoys in his research.

“Over the years, I plan to use 30-plus years of satellite data to expand this local-scale knowledge to larger scales, investigating the ocean and coastal behaviour in detail along the entire 150km Perth metropolitan coastline,” he said.

Mr Araujo said his research aligned with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021–2030) which supports efforts to reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health and ensure ocean science can support countries to create improved conditions for sustainable development of the ocean.

“In the future, this knowledge can be replicated over larger scales and beyond Australia's borders, enhancing the quality of life worldwide,” he said.

Media references

Thalles Araujo (PhD Student and Forrest Scholar) 0448 244 926

Annelies Gartner (UWA Media Advisor) 08 6488 6876

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