Nav: Home

STORMLAMP project to shine light on the impact of waves on lighthouses

May 31, 2016

Engineers have launched a new research project to examine the structural impact that waves have upon six of the most exposed rock-based lighthouses in the UK and Ireland.

A team drawn from the Universities of Plymouth and Exeter and UCL will use a variety of field and laboratory tests, with computer modelling, to evaluate the level of vibration the lighthouses endure from the constant battering of the sea.

The lighthouses to be studied are Les Hanois, in the English Channel near Guernsey; Bishop Rock, Wolf Rock and Longships, in Cornwall; Fastnet, to the south of Ireland; and Dubh Artach, off the west coast of Scotland.

STORMLAMP - STructural behaviour Of Rock Mounted Lighthouses At the Mercy of imPulsive waves - is being funded by a £1,000,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and will extend over the next three and a half years.

Project lead, Dr Alison Raby, of the School of Marine Science and Engineering at Plymouth, said: "These historic rock-mounted lighthouses are truly iconic structures, but they still play a vital role in helping vessels to navigate safely around perilous reefs, even with the advancement of GPS navigational technology. But if they are to continue to provide a valuable physical visual aid, we need to understand how their longevity might be affected by the battering they receive from the waves, especially with increased climate-related storminess."

The STORMLAMP project builds upon a trial conducted by Plymouth, with the support of the General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs), into the response of the Eddystone Lighthouse, off Plymouth, to different wave conditions. The study evaluated the extreme logistical constraints of lighthouse operations and the feasibility of using instrumentation to understand the response of the lighthouse to wave loads, with results strongly encouraging a comprehensive study of the load and response behaviour.

Engineers from Exeter will lead the structural monitoring, using specialist equipment to record the different vibrations caused by varying wave loading conditions. They recently conducted a 'dry run' on the iconic Smeaton's Tower in Plymouth, using an electro-dynamic shaker and accelerometers to establish the principle of the work.

Professor James Brownjohn, leading the Exeter team, said: "We will generate minute horizontal movements using the shaker and, by comparing the movements with the shaker forces, we'll be able to identify the stiffness properties of the lighthouse".

Colleagues at UCL will create a sophisticated multi-scale numerical simulation of the lighthouses that can be used with the data gathered on site to create long-term diagnoses. The numerical structural model will also be linked with advanced physical modelling at Plymouth University's COAST Laboratory, and numerical (computational fluid dynamic) simulations.

Professor Dina D'Ayala, of UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, said: "The six lighthouses which will be studied during the STORMLAMP project form part of an historically critical network around the British Isles that must be maintained. This project will play a key role in developing our understanding of how we can increase their lifespan against the increased storminess caused by climate change. The opportunity to directly study the impact of waves on these coastal structures will also allow this knowledge to be applied to protecting a range of other coastal defences."

Depending on the findings, the investigation will then focus on extended full-scale evaluation of one lighthouse for the following two winters. Ultimately, the findings will be used to inform the comprehensive structural health monitoring of other lighthouses both in the British Isles and further afield through the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities.

University of Plymouth

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...