Coastal disasters and environments:Protecting against tsunamis and storm surges

Department of civil and Environmental Engineering
Tomoya Shibayama


Coastal engineering and coastal zone management are my primary research interests. I have extensive experience performing surveys of coastal disasters and coastal processes in developing nations, including nations in Asia and Africa. I am currently studying coastal disasters caused by storm surges and tsunamis. Our team has performed field surveys of various coastal disaster areas, including those affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Central Java tsunami in 2006, Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh in 2007, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, and the Samoan Islands tsunami in 2009. We have also performed numerical simulations of the tsunami and storm surges that occurred in these events and discussed future countermeasures to prevent coastal disasters.

We also perform analyses to seek to anticipate future changes in typhoon behavior and the resulting storm surge disasters attributable to climate change. Since our home city is Tokyo/Yokohama, we are familiar with the Tokyo Bay waterfront of this megacity. We plan to propose future disaster prevention plans for Tokyo Bay to prepare for global warming.

In relation to efforts to protect coastal beaches, to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms of coastal erosion, our research explores not just coastal zones but sediment production in river basins and river sediment transport. Our research also clarifies the different conditions that prevail in various countries with respect to these issues.

Since I have spent most of my working years in Asia, my research interests are strongly influenced by Asian coastal problems, particularly coastal erosion processes and natural disasters. Our research seeks to clarify the macroscopic relationship between the industrialization of developing nations and coastal erosion or deposition processes, based on the examples of Japan and other Asian countries. The research also provides a micro-level understanding of the dynamic processes of sediment production and transport from river basin to coast.

We rely on a strong research network established around the world. Since I have worked at Yokohama National University for 22 years, most members have graduated from Yokohama National University with doctorates in Coastal Engineering under my supervision. They now work in their home countries, teaching or doing research at the following institutions: Thammasat University and Burapha University in Thailand; HoChiMinh City University of Technology in Vietnam; Tianjin University in China; K.N. Toorsi University of Technology in Iran; University of Ottawa in Canada; Ruhuna University in Sri Lanka; Kyonju University in Korea; University of East London in England; Bandung Institute of Technology and Syah Kuala University in Indonesia; Vietnamese Institute of Water Resources; Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology; Penta Ocean Research Institute; Japan International Cooperation Agency; Kyoto University; University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania; and the Royal Polytechnic University in Bhutan.

We host frequent research conferences, including “WASEDA-YNU Seminar on Coastal Disasters, Environment and Management in Asia and Africa,” held September 4 and 5, 2009, in Waseda University’s Okuma Auditorium.