Document Actions

Dr Diane Horn

Reader in Coastal Geomorphology

Profile

  • I am a physical geographer with interests in the modelling and management of coastal environments. Unusually – at least for the UK – I have degrees in three different subjects: a BA in History, an MA in Earth Science, and a DPhil in Geography. I did the US equivalent of a PGCE and taught earth science in the US before coming to the UK as a research student at Oxford University, where I did my thesis on numerical modelling of shore-normal sediment size variation on beaches. I began my lecturing career at the University of Hull, then taught at King’s College London and the University of Gloucestershire before coming to Birkbeck.

Research interests

  • My research interests include
    • coastal processes (particularly swash and beach groundwater and mixed sand and gravel beaches)
    • flooding (particularly flood insurance)
    • coastal adaptation to climate change
  • In recent years my research has become more applied, as I have become increasingly interested in policy-relevant science. I am interested in both the physical and social processes that affect flood risk and coastal hazards. I’ve become increasingly convinced that what’s likely to make the biggest difference in future, particularly in urban areas, is how we adapt to rising sea levels – where we build, what we build and how we build. This has led to my newest research interest, on flood insurance, planning, and development in coastal hazard zones and how the control of development in at-risk areas can help to reduce future risks due to climate change.
  • Flood insurance
    • I am working on a comparative study of flood insurance provision in the UK and the US with Dr Michael McShane of the Department of Finance in the College of Business and Public Administration at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, as part of their Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative. Dr McShane runs the ODU Insurance and Financial Services Center and co-founded the ODU Emergent Risk Initiative. The CCSLRI is a multi-disciplinary research initiative involving researchers from across the whole university, focussing on the impact of climate change and sea level rise on metropolitan communities that are situated at or close to sea level. Norfolk, Virginia, has the second highest vulnerability to sea level rise in the US (after New Orleans). This research project was the first visiting scholarship appointed under the CCSLRI and focuses on the role of insurance in adaptation to climate change, particularly flood risks.
    • Insurance can be used as a risk-sharing mechanism to increase resilience in the face of the flood peril. However, the way in which flood insurance is implemented varies widely by country, and no two countries are more different than the US and the UK. Globally, the US has the most public flood insurance program and the UK the most privatised. In the US, flood coverage is excluded from property policies provided by private insurers, and is only available from the federal government via the National Flood Insurance Program. In contrast, the UK insurance market is unique in having an entirely market-based scheme without direct government involvement, with the financial costs of floods borne entirely by the private sector. Even though the two countries are at polar opposites in the government/private insurance divide, both programs are in crisis and under intense debate. Following massive payments for flood claims related to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the NFIP deficit has ballooned to about $28 billion, prompting calls to bring private insurance back into the flood insurance business. The UK is embarking on a major change in the flood insurance market. The agreement on flood insurance between the Government and the insurance industry expired on 31 July 2013 and a new flood insurance scheme, Flood Re, is being negotiated between the Association of British Insurers and the UK government. We have a paper coming out in Nature Climate Change which describes Flood Re and assesses the extent to which Flood Re is likely to promote adaptation.
  • Swash and beach groundwater
    • My long-standing research has focussed on swash and beach groundwater, with funding from EPSRC, NERC, the Royal Society, the Australian Research Council, the Royal Geographical Society; the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology; and the University of Queensland, Australia. This research has been carried out in collaboration with Professors Tom Baldock, Ling Li, and Peter Nielsen, all in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland; Professor Andy Baird (now at University of Leeds); and Dr Travis Mason (now at Southampton Oceanography Centre). The main objectives of these research projects were to measure and model swash and beach groundwater hydrodynamics and to relate surface and subsurface flow regimes and transport mechanisms to swash zone sediment in order to improve understanding of the relationship between swash zone and beach groundwater processes.
  • Mixed sand and gravel beaches
    • Since my PhD research, I have been interested in processes on mixed sand and gravel beaches, particularly how the profile response on mixed beaches compares to the profile response of sand and gravel beaches. However, much less is known about beaches composed of mixed sand and gravel, which don’t behave like either a sand beach or a gravel beach, and where the percentage of sand reduces the permeability of the beach. Understanding mixed beaches is becoming critical in the UK because beach recharge materials on mixed beaches often contain a larger proportion of fine sediment than the natural beach and lose more sediment than a pure sand or gravel beach under similar wave conditions. My research on mixed beaches has been funded by MAFF, Defra, the University of London Central Research Fund, the Hanze Institute of Advanced Studies, and NATO. One recent research project was funded by Defra on the influence of permeability on the performance of mixed beaches and was carried out in collaboration with Dr Kaiming She at the University of Brighton and Atkins Water.

Teaching

  • I am currently the Director of Postgraduate Research for GEDS. I teach part or all of the following modules:
    • Environmental Science for Environmental Management (MSc)
    • Global Environmental Issues (year 1)
    • Environmental Processes (year 2)
    • Coastal Processes and Management (years 3/4)

PhD supervision

  • I am interested in supervising research projects in the areas of flooding (particularly flood insurance), coastal adaptation to climate change, and beach processes (particularly mixed sand and gravel beaches). I am currently supervising the following students:
    • Jill Eldridge: full-time EPSRC Industrial CASE award, industrial contribution from the Willis Research Network; thesis topic: modelling the impact of planning policy on flood vulnerability and insurance risk in the Thames Gateway
    • Matt Foote: part-time, employed as Head of Exposure and Catastrophe Management, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance; thesis topic: swash hydrodynamics
    • Simon Lane: part-time, employed as Radiology Information Manager and Data Analyst, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust; supervised jointly with Professor Carl Amos, Department of Ocean and Earth Science, Southampton Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton; thesis topic: salt marsh erosion at Lymington
    • Toni Scarr: part-time, employed as Marine Policy Advisor, Environment Agency; thesis topic: marine conservation zones in estuaries

Publications

  • Journal articles
  • Horn, D.P. and McShane, M.M. 2013. Flooding the market. Nature Climate Change 3(11): 945-947.
  • Horn, D.P., Baldock, T.E. and Li, L. 2011. Beach profile evolution on coarse and fine sediment beaches. In Rosati, J.D. (ed) Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Sediments 2011. Reston, Virginia: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1701-1714.
  • Wiegand, B. and Horn, D.P. 2011. High-frequency bed level changes on a coarse-grained beach. In Rosati, J.D. (ed) Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Sediments 2011. Reston, Virginia: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1553-1564.
  • Horn, D.P. and Walton, S.M. 2007. Spatial and temporal variations of sediment size on a mixed sand and gravel beach. Sedimentary Geology 202: 509-528.
  • Horn, D.P., Baldock, T.E. and Li, L. 2007. The influence of groundwater on profile evolution of fine and coarse sand beaches. In Kraus, N.C. and Rosati, J.D. (eds) Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Sediments 2007. Reston, Virginia: American Society of Civil Engineers, 506-519.
  • She, K.M., Horn, D.P., Trim, L. and Canning, P. 2007. Effects of permeability on the performance of mixed sand-gravel beaches. In Kraus, N.C. and Rosati, J.D. (eds) Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Sediments 2007. Reston, Virginia: American Society of Civil Engineers, 520-530.
  • Horn, D.P. 2006. Measurements and modelling of groundwater flow in the swash zone. Continental Shelf Research 26(5): 622-652.
  • Horn, D.P. and Li, L. 2006. Measurement and modelling of gravel beach groundwater response to wave run-up: effects on beach profile changes. Journal of Coastal Research 22(5): 1241-1249.
  • Li, L., Horn, D.P. and Baird, A.J. 2006. Tide-induced dynamics of surface temperature in the intertidal zone of a sandy beach. Journal of Coastal Research 22(6): 1370-1382.
  • Horn, D.P. and Lane, S.P.H. 2006. Measurement of high-frequency bed level changes in the swash zone using photo-electronic erosion pins. Proceedings of 30th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. Singapore: World Scientific, 2591-2603.
  • She, K.M., Horn, D.P., Canning, P. and Thomas, I.M.R. 2006. Recharge of mixed sand and gravel beaches. Proceedings of 30th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. Singapore: World Scientific, 4092-4101.
  • Horn, D.P. 2005. Ending the sandbag culture: integrating insurance and development controls to reduce coastal flood hazards in England. Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie 141:17-30.
  • Robinson, C., Baldock. T.E., Horn. D.P., Gibbes, B., Hughes, M.G., Nielsen, P. and Li, L. 2005. Measurement of groundwater and swash interactions on a sandy beach. Proceedings of Coastal Dynamics ’05. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers. CD, 12 pp.
  • Horn, D.P. and Walton, S.M. 2004. Sediment-level oscillations in the swash zone of a mixed sand and gravel beach. Proceedings of 29th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. New York: World Scientific, 2390-2402.
  • Horn, D.P., Li, L. and Holmes, P. 2003. Measurement and modelling of gravel beach groundwater response to wave run-up. In Davis, R.A. (ed). 2003. Proceedings of the International Conference on Coastal Sediments 2003. CD published by World Scientific, ISBN 981-238-422-7, 11pp.
  • Horn, D.P. 2002. Beach ground water dynamics. Geomorphology 48: 121-146.
  • Foote, M. and Horn, D.P. 2002. Using video and GIS to measure water surface elevations in the swash zone. Transactions in GIS 6(1): 43-68.
  • Horn, D.P. 2002. Mesoscale beach processes. Progress in Physical Geography 26(2): 291-309.
  • Foote, M., Horn, D.P. and Li, L. 2002. Measuring swash zone hydrodynamics and morphodynamic change – a high-resolution laboratory system using digital video. Journal of Coastal Research SI 36: 300-316.
  • Foote, M. and Horn, D.P. 2002. Swash zone morphodynamics and uprush/backwash asymmetry. Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. New York: World Scientific, 980-992.
  • Holmes, P., Horn, D.P., Blewett, J.C., Blanco, B., Peel-Yates, T. and Shanehsaz-zadeh, A. 2002. Hydraulic gradients and bed level changes in the swash zone on sand and gravel beaches. Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. New York: World Scientific, 1016-1027.
  • Li, L., Baird, A.J. and Horn, D.P. 2002. Spring-neap tidal water table fluctuations in a coastal aquifer: beach slope vs seepage face effects. Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. New York: World Scientific, 1037-1049.
  • Baldock, T.E., Baird, A.J., Horn, D.P. and Mason, T. 2001. Measurements and modelling of swash-induced pressure gradients in the surface layers of a sand beach. Journal of Geophysical Research 106(C2): 2653-2666.
  • Blewett, J.C., Holmes, P. and Horn, D.P. 2001. Field measurements of swash on gravel beaches. In Hanson, H. and Larson, M. (eds) Coastal Dynamics ’01. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 828-837.
  • Blewett, J.C., Holmes, P. and Horn, D.P. 2000. Swash hydrodynamics on sand and shingle beaches. Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 597-609.
  • Foote, M. and Horn, D.P. 1999. Video measurement of swash zone hydrodynamics. Geomorphology 29(1/2): 59-76.
  • Jackson, N.L., Horn, D.P., Spalding, V. and Nordstrom, K.F. 1999. Changes in beach water table elevation during neap and spring tides on a sandy estuarine beach, Delaware Bay, New Jersey, USA. Estuaries 22(3B): 753-762.
  • Horn, D.P. 1999. Synergy and co-operation: collaborative coastal research projects. Progress in Physical Geography 23(1): 115-133.
  • Blewett, J.C., Holmes, P. and Horn, D.P. 1999. Measurement and modelling of swash hydrodynamics. In Kraus, N.C. and McDougal, W.G. (eds) Coastal Sediments '99. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 377-392.
  • Foote, M. and Horn, D.P. 1999. Swash zone velocity and volumetric measurement using a simple video technique. In Kraus, N.C. and McDougal, W.G. (eds) Coastal Sediments '99. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 393-404.
  • Raper, J.F., Livingstone, D., Bristow, C. S. and Horn, D.P. 1999. Developing process-response models for spits. In Kraus, N.C. and McDougal, W.G. (eds) Coastal Sediments '99. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1755-1769.
  • Baird, A.J., Horn, D.P. and Mason, T.E. 1998. Validation of a Boussinesq model of beach ground water behaviour. Marine Geology 148: 55-69.
  • Horn, D.P., Baldock, T.E., Baird, A.J. and Mason, T. 1998. Field measurements of swash induced pressure gradients within a sandy beach. Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2812-2825.
  • Baldock, T.E., Holmes, P. and Horn, D.P. 1997. Low frequency swash motion induced by wave grouping. Coastal Engineering 32(2/3): 197-222.
  • Horn, D.P. 1997. Beach research in the 1990s. Progress in Physical Geography 21(3): 454-470.
  • Baird, A.J., Mason, T.E., Horn, D.P. and Baldock, T.E. 1997. Monitoring and modelling groundwater behaviour in sandy beaches as a basis for improved models of swash zone sediment transport. In Thornton, E.B. (ed) Coastal Dynamics 97. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 774-783.
  • Foote, M. and Horn, D.P. 1997. Measuring swash hydrodynamics on a laboratory beach. In Thornton, E.B. (ed) Coastal Dynamics 97. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 794-803.
  • Baird, A.J. and Horn, D.P. 1996. Monitoring and modelling groundwater behaviour in sandy beaches. Journal of Coastal Research 12(3): 630-640.
  • Baird, A.J., Mason, T.E. and Horn, D.P. 1996. Mechanisms of beach groundwater and swash interaction. Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Coastal Engineering. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 4120-4133.
  • Horn, D.P. and Mason, T. 1994. Swash zone sediment transport modes. Marine Geology 120: 309-325.
  • Horn, D.P. 1993. Sediment dynamics on a macrotidal beach. Journal of Coastal Research 9(1): 189-208.
  • Horn, D.P. 1992a. A review and experimental assessment of equilibrium grain size and the ideal wave-graded profile. Marine Geology 108: 161-174.
  • Horn, D.P. 1992b. A numerical model for shore-normal sediment size variation on a macrotidal beach. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 17(8): 755-773.
  • Horn, D.P. 1991. Computer simulation of shore-normal variations in sediment size. In Kraus, N.C., Gingerich, K.J. and Kriebel, D.L. (eds) Coastal Sediments '91. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 875-889.
  • Horn, D.P. and Hardisty, J. 1990. The application of Stokes wave theory under changing sea levels in the Irish Sea. Marine Geology 94: 341-351.
  • Book chapters
  • Horn, D.P. Storm surge warning and mitigation. Coastal and Marine Hazards and Disasters, Elsevier. Forthcoming, invited chapter.
  • Eldridge, J. and Horn, D.P. 2008. Flood risk, planning policy and insurance loss potential in the Thames Gateway. In Samuels, P. Huntington, S., Allsop, W. and Harrop, J. (eds.) Flood risk management: research and practice. Boca Raton: CRC Press, CD, 10 pp.
  • Horn, D.P. 2004. Hydrology of the coastal zone. In Schwartz, M. (ed) Encyclopedia of Coastal Science. Dordrecht: Springer, 662-669. (invited article)
  • Horn, D.P. 2004. Beach sediment transport. In Goudie, A. (ed) Encyclopaedia of Geomorphology. London: Routledge, 74-76. (invited article)
  • Horn, D. P. 1994. Applications of a numerical model for shore-normal sediment size variation. In Kirkby, M.J. (ed) Process Models and Theoretical Geomorphology. Wiley, 389-407.
  • Other written output
  • Horn, D.P., She, K.M. and Canning, P. Influence of permeability on the performance of shingle and mixed beaches. R&D Technical Report FD1923/TR. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs/ Environment Agency, 99 pp.
  • Horn, D.P., Raper, J.F., Bristow, C.S., Livingstone, D.L., Riddell, K.J., Fuller, T.W. and Morris, F.E. 1996. Spits and nesses: basic processes and effects on long term coastal morphodynamics. Scoping study for MAFF contract, 119 pp.
  • Horn, D.P. 1995. The coastal 'machine': beach processes and landforms. Geography Review 8(3): 35-41.
  • Bristow, C.S., Horn, D.P. and Raper, J.F. 1993. Evolution of a barrier island and recurved spits on a macrotidal coast. In J.H. List (ed). Large Scale Coastal Behavior '93. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 93-381, pp. 9-12.
  • Invited presentations
  • Flood insurance and understanding risk: lessons from Europe. European-American Conference on Transatlantic Solutions to Sea Level Rise Adaptation, Norfolk, Virginia, October 2013.
  • Planning policy impacts on risk and insurance vulnerability. Willis Research Network Annual Meeting, London, February 2010.
  • Policy, planning policy and flood risk. Lloyds Market Association and Willis Research Network London Flood Seminar, London, February 2009.
  • Invited panelist, Ninth National Seminar on Flood Risk and Insurance, HR Wallingford, September 2006.
  • Beach groundwater flow in the swash zone. International Swash Workshop, Lisbon, September 2004.
  • Spatial and temporal variations of sediment size on a mixed sand and gravel beach. PASSED workshop: from particle size to sediment dynamics, Hanze Institute of Advanced Studies, Delmenhorst, Germany, April 2004.
  • Hydraulic gradients in beach sediments. Meeting on Fluidization in Industry and the Environment, London, June 2001.
  • Modelling swash and beach groundwater dynamics. 1998 Binghamton Symposium on the Geomorphology of Coastal Environments, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, November 1998.
  • Recent conference presentations
  • The future of UK flood insurance. European Geophysical Union, Vienna, April 2013.
  • Measurement and modelling of beach profile evolution under controlled beach groundwater levels. Association of American Geographers, New York, February 2012.
  • Modelling flood risk on development sites. European Geophysical Union, Vienna, April 2011.
  • Beach profile evolution on coarse and fine sediment beaches. Coastal Sediments ‘11, Miami, May 2011.
  • High-frequency bed level changes on a coarse-grained beach. Coastal Sediments ‘11, Miami, May 2011.
  • “Unsaleable, uninsurable and uninhabitable”: development and flood risk in the Thames Gateway. Association of American Geographers, Washington DC, April 2010.
  • The Thames Gateway: planning policy and flood risk scenarios. European Geophysical Union, Vienna, May 2010.
  • Flooding and subsidence in the Thames Gateway: impact on insurance loss potential. European Geophysical Union, Vienna, May 2010.
  • Future flood: the impact of planning policy on flood vulnerability and insurance risk in the Thames Gateway. European Geophysical Union, Vienna, April 2009.
  • Flood vulnerability, planning policy and insurance risk in the Thames Gateway. Association of American Geographers, Boston, April 2008.
  • Insurance and flood risk in the Thames Gateway. Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference, London, August 2008.
  • A case study of the Thames Gateway: flood risk, planning policy and insurance loss potential. FloodRisk 2008: The European Conference on Flood Risk Management, Research into Practice, Oxford, September 2008.
  • Laboratory investigation of beach profile evolution with controlled beach groundwater elevation. 9th International Coastal Symposium, Gold Coast, Australia, April 2007.
  • Performance of nourished mixed sand and gravel beaches. Association of American Geographers, San Francisco, April 2007.
  • The influence of groundwater on profile evolution of fine and coarse sand beaches. Coastal Sediments ‘07, New Orleans, May 2007.
  • Effects of permeability on the performance of mixed sand-gravel beaches. Coastal Sediments ‘07, New Orleans, May 2007.
  • Using high-resolution videography on laboratory beaches to determine the influence of infiltration on swash asymmetry. British Society for Geomorphology, Birmingham, July 2007.
  • Swash zone sediment-level oscillations. Association of American Geographers, Chicago, March 2006.
  • Groundwater and beach profile evolution on fine and coarse sand beaches. International Geographical Union, Brisbane, July 2006.
  • Cliffing of mixed sand and gravel beaches – causes and possible solutions. Defra 41st Flood and Coastal Management Conference, York, July 2006.
  • Measurement of high-frequency bed level changes in the swash zone using photo-electronic erosion pins (PEEPs). 30th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, San Diego, September 2006.
  • Recharge of mixed sand and gravel beaches. 30th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, San Diego, September 2006.

Highlight