Associate Professor Kristen Splinter
Associate Professor

Associate Professor Kristen Splinter



Geological Oceanography. Oregon State University, USA.

Dissertation: Development of 2D Models to Estimate Nearshore Bathymetry and Sediment Transport.



Marine Resource Management. Oregon State University, USA.



Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering. University of Florida, USA.

Thesis: Effects of Three-Dimensional Forcing on Alongshore Currents:  A Comparative Study. 

B.Sc. (Eng.)


Civil Engineering, Environmental Option. 1st Class Honours. Queen’s University at Kingston, Canada.

Thesis: Developing Protocols For Clinker-based Wetland Cells Used for Removing Phosphorus From Wastewater.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Water Research Laboratory (WRL)

Dr. Kristen Splinter is a Associate Professor at the Water Research Laboratory within the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Kristen holds a Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Queen's University (Canada), Masters in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering from University of Florida (USA); and a PhD in Geological Oceanography as well as a Certificate in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University (USA).  Prior to her position at UNSW Sydney (2011-present) she spent 2 years as a Research Fellow at the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management (Australia). 

Kristen's area of expertise is in Coastal Engineering. Her research covers broad topics including storm to inter-annual shoreline change monitoring and modelling; coastal erosion and beach recovery; dune erosion; remote sensing of the coastal environment; and reef-top hydrodynamics. She is part of a dynamic and growing group within #WRLCoastal alongside fellow researchers Dr. Mitch Harley and Prof. Ian Turner. Her groups currently jointly supervises a number of PhD students, post-docs, Masters and Honours theses as well as international interns.

As a female engineer, Kristen has a strong desire to support and encourage more women into the discipline. She currently advocates for better gender equity within the Faculty as a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Chair of the Faculty of Engineering Gender, Equity and Diversity Working Group, and internationally as a committee member of the Women in Coastal Geosciences and Engineering (WICGE). Kristen also serves on the Engineers Australia NSW Coasts, Oceans, and Ports Engineering Panel (COPEP), is an Associate Editor for JGR-Earth Surface, Senior Editor for Cambridge Prisms: Coastal Futures; and is on the Editorial Boards of the Nature Scientific Reports and Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (JMSE), and is the co-founder of the #Coast2Coast seminar series with A/P Giovanni Coco (U. Auckland), A/Prof Ana Vila-Concejo (USyd) and Dr. Mitch Harley (UNSW). 


More info can be found about my research and student recruitment at the following pages:

Research page

WRL page

Google Scholar


(+61 2) 8071 9845
UNSW Water Research Laboratory Manly Vale Campus
  • Book Chapters | 2020
    Beuzen T; Splinter K, 2020, '28 Machine learning and coastal processes', in Sandy Beach Morphodynamics, Elsevier, pp. 689 - 710,
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Freeman EL; Splinter KD; Cox RJ; Flocard F, 2022, 'Dynamic Motions of Piled Floating Pontoons Due to Boat Wake and Their Impact on Postural Stability and Safety', Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, vol. 10, pp. 1633 - 1633,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Ellenson A; Simmons J; Wilson G; Splinter KD; Hesser T, 2020, 'Machine learning classification of beach state from argus imagery', Proceedings of the Coastal Engineering Conference, vol. 36, pp. 37 - 37,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Ellenson AN; Simmons JA; Wilson GW; Hesser TJ; Splinter KD, 2020, 'Beach state recognition using argus imagery and convolutional neural networks', Remote Sensing, vol. 12, pp. 1 - 20,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Ibaceta R; Splinter KD; Harley M; Turner I, 2020, 'Enhanced coastal shoreline modelling using an Ensemble Kalman Filter to include non-stationarity in future wave climates', ,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Ibaceta R; Splinter KD; Harley MD; Turner IL, 2020, 'Enhanced Coastal Shoreline Modeling Using an Ensemble Kalman Filter to Include Nonstationarity in Future Wave Climates', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 47,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Montaño J; Coco G; Antolínez JAA; Beuzen T; Bryan KR; Cagigal L; Castelle B; Davidson MA; Goldstein EB; Ibaceta R; Idier D; Ludka BC; Masoud-Ansari S; Méndez FJ; Murray AB; Plant NG; Ratliff KM; Robinet A; Rueda A; Sénéchal N; Simmons JA; Splinter KD; Stephens S; Townend I; Vitousek S; Vos K, 2020, 'Blind testing of shoreline evolution models', Scientific Reports, vol. 10, pp. 2137,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Vos K; Harley MD; Splinter KD; Walker A; Turner IL, 2020, 'Beach Slopes From Satellite-Derived Shorelines', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 47,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Beuzen T; Goldstein EB; Splinter KD, 2019, 'Ensemble models from machine learning: An example of wave runup and coastal dune erosion', Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, vol. 19, pp. 2295 - 2309,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Beuzen T; Goldstein EB; Splinter KD, 2019, 'Ensemble models from machine learning: an example of wave runup and coastal dune erosion', ,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Beuzen T; Harley MD; Splinter KD; Turner IL, 2019, 'Controls of Variability in Berm and Dune Storm Erosion', Journal of Geophysical Research,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Greenslade D; Hemer M; Babanin A; Lowe R; Turner I; Power H; Young I; Ierodiaconou D; Hibbert G; Williams G; Aijaz S; Albuquerque J; Allen S; Banner M; Branson P; Buchan S; Burton A; Bye J; Cartwright N; Chabchoub A; Colberg F; Contardo S; dufois F; Earl-Spurr C; Elliott G; Farr D; Flynn J; Goodwin I; Gunson J; Hansen J; Hanslow D; Harley M; Hetzel Y; Hoeke R; Jones N; Kinsela M; Liu Q; Makarynskyy O; Marcollo H; Mazaheri S; McConochie J; Millar G; Moltmann T; Moodie N; Morim J; Morison R; Orszaghova J; Pattiaratchi C; Pomeroy A; Proctor R; Provis D; Reef R; Rijnsdorp D; Rutherford M; Schulz E; Shayer J; Splinter K; Steinberg C; Strauss D; Stuart G; Symonds G; Tarbath K; Taylor P; Taylor D; Taylor J; Thotagamuwage D; Toffoli A; Valizadeh A; van Hazel J; Vieira da Silva G; Wandres M; Whittaker C; Williams D; Winter G; Xu J; Zed M; Zhong A; Zieger S, 2019, '15 priorities for wind-waves research: An Australian perspective', Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Phillips MS; Blenkinsopp CE; Splinter KD; Harley MD; Turner IL, 2019, 'Modes of Berm and Beachface Recovery Following Storm Reset: Observations Using a Continuously Scanning Lidar', Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 124, pp. 720 - 736,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Simmons JA; Splinter KD; Harley MD; Turner IL, 2019, 'Calibration data requirements for modelling subaerial beach storm erosion', Coastal Engineering, vol. 152, pp. 103507 - 103507,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Vos K; Harley MD; Splinter KD; Simmons JA; Turner IL, 2019, 'Sub-annual to multi-decadal shoreline variability from publicly available satellite imagery', Coastal Engineering, vol. 150, pp. 160 - 174,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Vos K; Splinter KD; Harley MD; Simmons JA; Turner IL, 2019, 'CoastSat: A Google Earth Engine-enabled Python toolkit to extract shorelines from publicly available satellite imagery', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 122,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Beuzen T; Splinter KD; Marshall LA; Turner IL; Harley MD; Palmsten ML, 2018, 'Bayesian Networks in coastal engineering: Distinguishing descriptive and predictive applications', Coastal Engineering, vol. 135, pp. 16 - 30,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Splinter KD; Beuzen T; Marshall L, 2018, 'A comparison of methods for discretizing continuous variables in Bayesian Networks.', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 108, pp. 61 - 66,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Splinter KD; Gonzalez MVG; Oltman-Shay J; Rutten J; Holman R, 2018, 'Observations and modelling of shoreline and multiple sandbar behaviour on a high-energy meso-tidal beach', Continental Shelf Research, vol. 159, pp. 33 - 45,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Splinter KD; Harley MD; Turner IL, 2018, 'Remote sensing is changing our view of the coast: Insights from 40 years of monitoring at Narrabeen-Collaroy, Australias', Remote Sensing, vol. 10,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Vila-Concejo A; Gallop SL; Hamylton SM; Esteves LS; Bryan KR; Delgado-Fernandez I; Guisado-Pintado E; Joshi S; Da Silva GM; De Alegria-Arzaburu AR; Power HE; Senechal N; Splinter K, 2018, 'Steps to improve gender diversity in coastal geoscience and engineering', Palgrave Communications, vol. 4,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Davidson MA; Turner IL; Splinter KD; Harley MD, 2017, 'Annual prediction of shoreline erosion and subsequent recovery', Coastal Engineering, vol. 130, pp. 14 - 25,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Harley MD; Turner IL; Kinsela MA; Middleton JH; Mumford PJ; Splinter KD; Phillips MS; Simmons JA; Hanslow DJ; Short AD, 2017, 'Extreme coastal erosion enhanced by anomalous extratropical storm wave direction', Scientific Reports, vol. 7,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Phillips MS; Harley MD; Turner IL; Splinter KD; Cox RJ, 2017, 'Shoreline recovery on wave-dominated sandy coastlines: the role of sandbar morphodynamics and nearshore wave parameters', Marine Geology, vol. 385, pp. 146 - 159,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Simmons JA; Harley MD; Marshall LA; Turner IL; Splinter KD; Cox RJ, 2017, 'Calibrating and assessing uncertainty in coastal numerical models', Coastal Engineering, vol. 125, pp. 28 - 41,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Splinter KD; Turner IL; Reinhardt M; Ruessink G, 2017, 'Rapid adjustment of shoreline behavior to changing seasonality of storms: observations and modelling at an open-coast beach', Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, vol. 42, pp. 1186 - 1194,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Bracs MA; Turner IL; Splinter KD; Short AD; Lane C; Davidson MA; Goodwin ID; Pritchard T; Cameron D, 2016, 'Evaluation of Opportunistic Shoreline Monitoring Capability Utilizing Existing "surfcam" Infrastructure', Journal of Coastal Research, vol. 32, pp. 542 - 554,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Bracs MA; Turner IL; Splinter KD; Short AD; Mortlock TR, 2016, 'Synchronised patterns of erosion and deposition observed at two beaches', Marine Geology, vol. 380, pp. 196 - 204,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Harley MD; Turner IL; Splinter KD; Phillips M; Simmons JS, 2016, 'Beach response to Australian East Coast Lows: a comparison between the 2007 and 2015 events, Narrabeen-Collaroy Beach', Journal of Coastal Research: an international forum for the littoral sciences, vol. 1, pp. 388 - 392,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Palmsten ML; Splinter KD, 2016, 'Observations and simulations of wave runup during a laboratory dune erosion experiment', Coastal Engineering, vol. 115, pp. 58 - 66,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Turner IL; Harley MD; Short AD; Simmons JA; Bracs MA; Phillips MS; Splinter KD, 2016, 'A multi-decade dataset of monthly beach profile surveys and inshore wave forcing at Narrabeen, Australia', Scientific Data, vol. 3,
    Journal articles | 2015
    Barnard PL; Short AD; Harley MD; Splinter KD; Vitousek S; Turner IL; Allan J; Banno M; Bryan KR; Doria A; Hansen JE; Kato S; Kuriyama Y; Randall-Goodwin E; Ruggiero P; Walker IJ; Heathfield DK, 2015, 'Coastal vulnerability across the Pacific dominated by El Niño/Southern Oscillation', Nature Geoscience, vol. 8, pp. 801 - 807,
    Journal articles | 2015
    Castelle B; Marieu V; Bujan S; Splinter KD; Robinet A; Sénéchal N; Ferreira S, 2015, 'Impact of the winter 2013-2014 series of severe Western Europe storms on a double-barred sandy coast: Beach and dune erosion and megacusp embayments', Geomorphology, vol. 238, pp. 135 - 148,
    Journal articles | 2014
    Splinter KD; Carley JT; Golshani A; Tomlinson R, 2014, 'A relationship to describe the cumulative impact of storm clusters on beach erosion', Coastal Engineering, vol. 83, pp. 49 - 55,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Davidson MA; Splinter K; Turner IL, 2013, 'A simple equilibrium model for predicting shoreline change', Coastal Engineering, vol. 73, pp. 191 - 202,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Davidson MA; Splinter KD; Turner IL, 2013, 'Corrigendum to A simple equilibrium model for predicting shoreline change [Coast. Eng. 73 (2013) 191-202]', Coastal Engineering, vol. 75, pp. 91,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Middleton JH; Cooke CG; Nippard GJ; Kearney ET; Mole MA; Splinter KD; Turner IL; Mumford PJ; Rizos C, 2013, 'Resolution and accuracy of an airborne scanning laser system for beach surveys', Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, vol. 30, pp. 2452 - 2464,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Mole MA; Mortlock TRC; Turner IL; Goodwin ID; Splinter KD; Short AD, 2013, 'Capitalizing on the surfcam phenomenon: A pilot study in regional-scale shoreline and inshore wave monitoring utilizing existing camera infrastructure', Journal of Coastal Research, pp. 1433 - 1438,
    Journal articles | 2013
    Splinter K; Turner IL; Davidson MA, 2013, 'How much data is enough? The importance of morphological sampling interval and duration for calibration of empirical shoreline models', Coastal Engineering, vol. 77, pp. 14 - 27,
    Journal articles | 2012
    Splinter K; Palmsten M, 2012, 'Modeling Dune Response to an East Coast Low', Marine Geology, vol. 329-331, pp. 46 - 57,
    Journal articles | 2011
    Splinter K; Holman RA; Plant NG, 2011, 'A behavior-oriented dynamic model for sand bar migration sand 2DH evolution', Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 116, pp. C01020 - C01020,
  • Working Papers | 2020
    Vos K; Harley MD; Splinter K; Walker A; Turner IL, 2020, Beach slopes from satellite-derived shorelines, Wiley, http://dx.doi.org10.1002/essoar.10502903.2,
    Working Papers | 2020
    Vos K; Harley MD; Splinter KD; Walker A; Turner IL, 2020, Beach slopes from satellite-derived shorelines, Wiley, http://dx.doi.org10.1002/essoar.10502903.1
  • Preprints | 2020
    Ibaceta R; Splinter KD; Harley MD; Turner IL, 2020, Enhanced coastal shoreline modelling using an Ensemble Kalman Filter to include non-stationarity in future wave climates,
    Conference Abstracts | 2020
    Vos K; Harley MD; Splinter KD; Walker A; Turner IL, 2020, 'BEACH SLOPES FROM SATELLITE-DERIVED SHORELINES', in Coastal Engineering Proceedings, Coastal Engineering Research Council, pp. 36 - 36,
    Conference Papers | 2019
    Conference Abstracts | 2014
    Splinter KD; Kearney ETD; Turner IL, 2014, 'Drivers of alongshore variable dune erosion during a storm event: observations and modelling', in Coastal Engineering, San Francisco, CA, USA, Vol. 131, pp. 31 - 41, presented at AGU Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, USA, 15 December 2014 - 19 December 2014,

Current Grants

Splinter, Turner, Coco, Palmsten. DP200100134.  Quantifying the impact of infiltration on dune erosion under waves & surge. $370K

Turner, Lowe, Greenslade, Plant, Hansen, Splinter. LP170100161. An Australian storm wave damage and beach erosion Early Warning System. $505K


Past Successful Grants

Splinter, Turner. Delivering a beach erosion forecasting system. NSW Environmental Trust. 2017-2019. $144K

Turner, Middleton, Splinter, Reniers, Davidson, Blenkinsopp. Beach Erosion and Recovery: Quantifying the Hazard. ARC Discovery 2015 - 2017. $423K

Castelle, Marieu, Senechal, Ruessink, Idier,Bujan, Ferreira, Splinter (I am a collaborator on 1 part of this grant) Processus cross-shore et longshore combines en morphodynamique littorale (French) ASTRID 2014, Agence de la Reserche (France). 207K euros.

Splinter, Davidson, Blenkinsopp, Turner. Development of a new Coastal Engineering 2-D beach profile model for predicting future coastline response to changing waves and sea-level. UNSW Australia Faculty of Engineering Early Career Research Grant, $20K.

Turner, Middleton, Goodwin, Splinter, Hanslow, Coates. ECL Impacts to beaches. Office of Environment and Heritage NSW Adaptation Research Hub. $66K

Splinter. Development and Application of 2 semi-empirical coastal evolution models to predict coastal change at timescales of days to years along Australian and French wave-dominated coastlines. France-Australia Science Innovation Collaboration (FASIC) Program Early  Career Research Fellowship Australian Academy of Science. $5K.

(2019) Future Women Leaders Conference Award, Monash University

(2015) Kevin Stark Award (Engineers Australia)

(2012) WRL Excellence Award, UNSW Sydney

I study how our coastline (namely the beaches) erode and recover from changes in the size of waves, sediment supply, and water levels.

I develop simple numerical models based on broad-scale observations that can predict how beaches change due to changes in wave height and wave period.  Two of the models that I have developed are based on the equilibrium concept (like a spring)  that can predict the cross-shore movement of sandbars and the shoreline over timescales of days to years. 

I also study how beaches change due to storms and their subsequent recovery, having published a large body of work on dune erosion and beach recovery processes based on both field analysis and numerical modelling.

I use remote sensing in a lot of my work. This includes the Google Earth Engine and PlanetLabs for developing new methods of shoreline extraction (For example, check out CoastSat which was developed by PhD student Kilian Vos). I also have a long history is using video/optical remote sensing techniques to study the nearshore. You can check out our coastal imaging stations here:

Recently I have also been involved with research projects to examine the hydrodynamics (waves and water levels) over reefs during extreme (cyclone) conditions.  This work is particularly important in the context of rising sea levels and climate change, where Pacific Island Nations may become more vulnerable to these events due to reef submergence and degradation. 

Invited to Review: Funding bodies: Australian Research Council (ARC DECRA and LIEF schemes, Australia); National Science Foundation (NSF, USA); ISAAC Program (Netherlands).  

Invited to Review: Journals: Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR); Journal of Hydraulic Engineering; Continental Shelf Research; Coastal Engineering; Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering; Natural Hazards; Journal of Coastal Research; International Journal of Event Management Research; Applied Ocean Research; Environmental Monitoring and Assessment; IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering; Environmental Monitoring and Assessment; Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, Remote Sensing, Coasts and Ports Conference Series.

Editorial Boards: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering.

Conference Organising Committee: ICCE (2020); Empowering Female Leadership in Marine Science Workshop (2019); Coasts and Ports (2017); Conference on Women in Engineering (2001)

Conference Session Organiser/Chair/Judge: AGU Fall Meeting Machine Learning in Earth Surface Processes (2018-present); Estuarine, coastal, and shelf science conference (2018); AGU Ocean Sciences (2016); AGU Fall Meeting Nearshore Processes (2010, 2012, 2014); International Coastal Symposium (2013); Coasts and Ports (2013)

Professional committees: Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering, Engineers Australia NSW Coastal, Ocean, and Port Engineering Panel (COPEP)

My Research Supervision


Conti, S.  Examining the impacts of waves, water levels and moisture content on dune erosion.

Vos, K. Novel Remote Sensing Applications to Quantify and Understand Changing Coasts

Ibaceta, R. Understanding and predicting multi-temporal shoreline variability in the face of inter-decadal variability in waves and sea levels

Leeman, C. Novel Remote Sensing and Machine Learning Applications for Regional Storm Wave Runup Forecasting

Matheen, A.N. Developing a Coastal Erosion Hotspot Early Warning System

Kreller, A.M. (co-supervised with Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences) Achieving Fair and Collective Adaptation to Sea-Level Rise

Li, R. Improving the design of hydraulic structures using LIDAR.


Honours/Masters Coursework Thesis students:

Doherty, Y. Near-Daily coastal monitoring with high-resolution PlanetScope Dove satellite imagery

Deng, W. Beach slope variability around the Australian coast from satellite remote imagery

Ul Hassan, W. Shoreline variability along the Pakistan coast from satellite remote imagery

Liu, C. Shoreline variability along the China coast from satellite remote imagery



I have graduated 4 PhD students, 2 MPhil student and supervised over 30 ME and Honours students in their final year theses. 

My Teaching

I currently teach in the following courses.

CVEN 9640/9640d: Coastal Engineering

CVEN 2501: Principles of Water Engineering

CVEN 9620/9620d: Rivers, Channels, and Estuaries