Jeff Hansen

Dr, BSc PhD Calif., MSc S.Francisco State

  • The University of Western Australia (M470), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 1.24, Geology and Geography Building, Perth campus

    6009 Perth


  • 458 Citations
  • 11 h-Index
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Personal profile


2012 Postdoctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
2011 Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
2007 M.Sc. Applied Geoscience, San Francisco State University
2002 B.S. Earth Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz


The core of my research focuses on understanding physical processes in coastal environments and linking these to evolution of the coast over a range of time scales. Specific topics of interest include:
Wave driven surf zone currents on beaches and reefs
Inlet dynamics and interaction with adjacent coast.
Mechanisms of sediment transport in near coastal waters.
Beach and coastal response to storms and sea level rise.
Development of new in situ and remote sensing techniques to measure waves, water levels, and currents in the surf zone.
Development of topographic and nearshore bathymetric mapping systems.

Current projects

  • Surf zone circulation in the presence of alongshore variable wave fields. Refraction of waves over shelf bathymetry can result in spatial variations in the amount of wave energy delivered to the coast. These alongshore variations result in gradients in set-up and a corresponding pressure gradient that can drive flows in the direction opposing the direction of wave approach even along straight beaches. My research has shown (Hansen et al., 2014) that pressure gradients large enough to be important in determining the direction and magnitude of alongshore flows can result from alongshore wave height gradients outside the surf zone as small as 10 cm per km.

  • Alongshore non-linear advection in the surf zone. US National Science Foundation funded project to investigate the sources, prevalence, and impact of non-linear advection on alongshore surf zone forcing and flows. This study included a large field experiment in Duck, North Carolina in 2013 and includes numerical modelling which is ongoing.

  • Sediment dynamics in mixed sand-reef environments. The west coast of Australia features numerous limestone and coral reefs that range from being shore attached to several km offshore. Wave refraction and dissipation over these reefs alters the wave field and impacts the circulation. We are currently conducting a range of experiments investigating the wave and circulation dynamics in these environments.

  • Mechanisms of sediment transport onshore of fringing reefs. Many of the ubiquitous fringing reefs in Western Australia feature a seaward protruding shorelines in their lee, similar to that often found onshore of a detached breakwater. We are currently investigating the mechanism that result in these accreted shorelines, which occur at scales ranging from tens of meters to more than a km, as well as their temporal variability. Early analysis suggest sediment may be transported onshore by wave orbital motions, through onshore migrating bed forms, which move in directions perpendicular to the direction of the mean flows

  • Optimal placement and arrangement of wave energy conversion devices (WEC). A four year project funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to determine the cost weighted optimal placement of WEC arrays. In order for wave energy to be competitive with traditional energy or other renewable sources cost must come down considerably. The project, in collaboration with UWA’s Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, aims to develop tools and guidelines to inform the optimal placement and arrangement of WEC arrays considering both energy output and cost. For example, energy output for a range of WEC devices may be the greatest in deeper waters farther offshore in the presence of more linear waves but the incremental performance improvement may be entirely outweighed by the additional cost of the subsea infrastructure and maintenance cost over the life of the project by having the WEC array further from the coast/harbor (e.g. longer cable runs and more ship time).

Funding overview

  • Christophe Gaudin, Ryan Lowe, Jeff Hansen, Scott Draper, Conleth O'Loughlin, Hugh Wolgamott, Britta Bienen, 2017, Wave Energy Research Centre in Albany, Western Australia, Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

  • Jeff Hansen, Ryan Lowe, Michael Cuttler, 2017, Peron Naturalist Partnership Regional Coastal Monitoring Program, Peron Naturaliste Partnership.

  • Christophe Gaudin, Ryan Lowe, Jeff Hansen, Conleth O'Loughlin, Yinghui Tian, Mark Cassidy, Ashkan Rafiee, Jonathan Fievez, 2015, From single to multiple wave energy converters: Cost reduction through location and configuration optimization, Australian Renewable Energy Agency. 

  • Jeff Hansen, 2015, Morphodynamics of a semi-sheltered lagoon, Shire of Augusta/Margaret River/WA Department of Transport.

  • Ryan Lowe, Jeff Hansen, 2014, Nearshore dynamics of complex coastlines, UWA Research Collaboration Awards.

  • Jeff Hansen, 2014, Quinns Beach and Two Rocks coastal monitoring, City of Wanneroo.

  • Jeff Hansen, Britt Raubenheimer, Steve Elgar, 2013, Beach and surfzone circulation and sediment dynamics, UWA Research Collaboration Awards.  

  • Britt Raubenheimer, Jeff Hansen, Steve Elgar, 2013, Alongshore advective acceleration in the surf zone. United States National Science Foundation.

  • Jeff Hansen, 2008, High-resolution shoreline mapping at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA. California Department of Boating and Waterways.

Teaching overview

Unit coordinator for:

EART2204 Coastal Processes

ENVT4403 Coastal and Esturine Processes


  • Nearshore waves and currents
  • Coastal sediment transport
  • Coastal evolution and storm response
  • Inlet dynamics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Jeff Hansen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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fringing reef Earth & Environmental Sciences
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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2009 2019

  • 458 Citations
  • 11 h-Index
  • 25 Article
  • 10 Conference paper

15 priorities for wind-waves research: An Australian perspective

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. & 58 othersColberg, 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, In : Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
wind wave
wave modeling
sea state

Improving predictions of the coastal impacts of wave farms using a phase-resolving wave model

Rijnsdorp, D. P., Hansen, J. & Lowe, R., 2019, Proceedings of the 12th European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

wave energy
wave diffraction
potential flow

Infragravity wave energy partitioning in the surf zone in response to wind-sea and swell forcing

Contardo, S., Symonds, G., Segura, L. E., Lowe, R. J. & Hansen, J. E., 28 Oct 2019, In : Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 7, 11, 383.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
edge wave
surf zone
wave energy
1 Citation (Scopus)
fringing reef
climate change

Projects 2014 2021