IH Cantabria has gained broad experience in the areas of marine dynamics, coastal dynamics, management of coastal erosion problems, regeneration projects beach and dune, environmental impact during dredging and the impact of dredging ditches and canals in coastal navigation over its 25 years in the field.

All this experience has allowed IH Cantabria to develop new methods and numerical tools such as Coastal Modelling System (SMC), which produces reliable results for technical studies of coastal related issues such as beach regenerations: Diagnosis, Pre-design (blueprint), design (project) and Monitoring and evaluation of the works, providing environmentally sound solutions which are compatible with the functionality and stability of the proposed alternatives.

IH Cantabria can carry out its service anywher in the worls, with dynamic wave, tidal and meteorological and astronomical rise of sea level databases. These databases are obtained numerically through reanalysis, calibrated and validated with satellite data and instrumental data, while at the same time providing numerical methodologies and tools developed to conduct studies of high quality and precision.

Some relevant work

- Study of stability Massaguaçu Beach (São Paulo)image004

DATE: 2011-2012

CLIENT: Ministry of Brazil do Meio Ambiente

WORK DONE: Study of the problem of erosion and retreat of the coastline of the beach Massaguaçu. The study consists of a historical analysis of the evolution of the coastline and sedimentology, marine dynamics characterization Beachfront (waves, currents, sediment transport and levels), proposed a model operating morphodynamic beach on scales short, medium and long term, proposed alternative solutions and evaluation of the functionality and stability of the same.


- Study of Tunisian coastal protection against sea erosion (Beni Kira - Give Chaabane, Gulf of Hammamet)image008

DATE: 2006-2007

CLIENT: AECID. Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development

TASKS: This is a study of coastal protection against erosion Tunisia. Specifically, we have studied in detail the current situation and the alternatives protection of the coast stretching from Dar Chaabane Béni Khiar up on the Gulf of Hammamet. The aim is to ensure the protection of existing infrastructure and buildings on the waterfront, and the establishment of a stable and suitable for beach tourism use (bathing, water sports, sunbathing, etc.). This project includes the adaptation of the SMC to the Tunisian coast, and its technology transfer and technical training of management and local research centers.


- Study of the condition of dredging in the bank environment E (Port of Gijón) in morphodynamics beaches and adjacent worksimage011

DATE: 2007

CLIENT: UTE DIQUE TORRES (Port Authority of Gijón)

TASKS: In this work, the condition of a dredging seawall near the Port of Gijón, in the morphodynamics and adjacent works, allowing the design and establishment of maximum trench dredging support stability Xivares beach and the design criteria of adjacent works (breakwater and outfall). The study characterizing the dynamics in marine dredging area, series 60 (waves, currents, winds and sea levels), design of trench dredging, based on a  evolution and morphodynamic probability analysis model of the impact of the evolution of the trench.


- Integral Study of the beach and dunes of Maspalomas (Gran Canaria)image016

DATE: 2007

CLIENT: Directorate General of Coasts (Ministry of Environment, Spain)

TASKS: Due to the reduced volume of sand dune field of Maspalomas (Canary Islands, Spain), in this work, a comprehensive study of the beaches and dune field, analyzing, both from a standpoint morphodynamic as environmental causes and future evolution of this coastal section. Among the tasks the following were carried out: marine dynamics study on the current situation, as well as past morphological configurations; geomorphological and sedimentological analysis of the area; study of marine biocenosis and vegetation dynamics modeling wind dune field in  current situation and its evolution in the past decades;  morphodynamic model system approach on beaches and dune field, assessing current and future stability,and finally design of the proposed improvement and restoration activities for the dune-beach system.


- Study of Regeneration morphodynamic the Barcelona Olympic BeachesSERErosion019

DATE: 2008

CLIENT: Phase II UTE Barcelona Beaches

TASK: In this work, a study of regeneration of a series of urban beaches, the beaches of Barcelona Olympic. Which are 7 beaches comprising a total of 4.5 km of coastline (La Barceloneta, Somorrostro, Nova Icaria, Bogatell, Mar Bella, Nova Mar Bella and New Creation). As part of the work a characterization of the marine S dynamics was created using the SMC software developed by IH. A proposed morphodynamic solution and necessary grains were determined to comply with the conditions of beach width established by the General Costas Directorate, along with the design of a set of containment works.



Published in Coasts

IH Cantabria has extensive experience in the design and production of all types of monitoring campaigns in coastal areas, which together with numerical and physical models, and the multidisciplinary nature of IH Cantabria's researchers and staff, give IH Cantabria the comprehensive knowledge of the processes and dynamics governing these complex environments.
A wide range of monitoring systems are used at IH Cantabria, including standard methods of in situ measurements (GPS, pressure and kinematic sensors, collection and analysis of water column samples, etc.) and quasi-real-time video monitoring systems  sistema HORUS.
IH Cantabria offers a set of monitoring systems that provide high temporal and spatial resolution, the ability to address a wide range of studies, including:
hydrodynamic campaigns, morphological evolution of estuaries and beaches, navigation channel management, analysis of the affected areas of industrial and municipal discharges in coastal areas and user density distribution on beaches.

Some examples of recent work:

- Application of methodologies and techniques based on video systems for monitoring coastal environmental problems : application to the beaches of Cartagena , Colombia.

DATES : 2008
CLIENT: Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development ( AECID )
TASKS: Developing an environmental monitoring system based on video cameras and processing the information they collect (
Sistema HORUS ). The work carried out in this field seeks to establish indicators which will assist managers to make decisions regarding beach erosion, tourism management or even help understand the coastal processes and tracking performances in engineering projects. The system  is currently operating on the beaches of Cartagena, Colombia .


- Aplicación de metodologías y técnicas basadas en sistemas de video para el seguimiento de los problemas ambientales costeros: aplicación a las Playas de Cartagena, Colombia.

FECHAS: 2008
CLIENTE: Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID)
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Desarrollo de un sistema de monitoreo ambiental basado en cámaras de vídeo y el procesamiento de la información que estas recopilan (). Buscando establecer indicadores útiles que permita a gestores tomar decisiones respecto a problemáticas de erosión de playas y gestión turística, como también permitir en proyectos de ingeniería entender los procesos litorales y el seguimiento de actuaciones. Sistema que actualmente se encuentra operativo en las playas de Cartagena, Colombia.


- Monitoring by cameras hydromorphological and ecological evolution Oyambre estuary in the vicinity of the new openings in the estuaries of Rabies and Captain

DATES : 2011
CLIENT: Government of Cantabria, Department of Biodiversity .
TASKS: Installation of 2 video camera  and monitoring
systems of estuarine morphodynamic evolution at the Oyambre Natural Park (Cantabria , Spain ), once the new bridges had been built to cross over the estuary, allowing the flow to increase between the estuary and the open sea on the other side. 

- Environmental Diagnosis Episodes Eutrophication of the Lagoon of Tidal Mill Santa Olalla

DATES : 2009
CLIENT: Government of Cantabria, Department of Biodiversity .
TASKS: Field campaign to study the hydrodynamics (sea level and current field
measurements), and physico-chemical characterization of the water column (measurement of dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature, conductivity, chlorophyll, nitrogen and phosphorus) and sediment (grain) in the Joyel estuary (Spain) to establish the origin of the eutrophication problem of  and to help develop solutions.

- Development of a pilot system for beach management services and determination of carrying capacity of the beaches surrounding the city of Santander

DATES : 2007
CLIENT: Ministry of Agriculture Food and Environment
TASKS: Installing a video-monitoring  and image analysis
system to determine the number of users at the different areas, its evolution in space and time and its correlation with the services offered at the different beaches.

- Red Vigia

DATES : 2012
CLIENT: Government of Cantabria -Cuevas S. L.
WORK: Development and management of a marine climate and water quality
monitoring system.

Published in Coasts

Over the last 20 years IH Cantabria has been developing full-scale monitoring systems of coastal structures (natural and/or artificial) with three objectives :

  • the development of new design technologies based on modeling without scale effects,
  • maintenance of early warning and monitoring systems
  • monitoring of the risk evolution of real structures throughout their life-span.

Using both commercial technologies (GPS, doppler anemometry, buoys accelerometer, pressure and kinematic sensors, remote sensing, etc.) as well as measurement techniques developed ad hoc, IH has accumulated extensive experience in several fields such as: monitoring of breakwaters other port structures, measuring of coastal met-ocean variables,  follow-up of sedimentary process on beaches and estuaries, dynamics of floating objects , etc . Real knowledge on the behaviour of coastal structures represents the final step of the design process and optimization, and complements the theoretical,  numerical and experimental work carried out to scale.

Relevant projects:

- Red Vigia
boya virgen_del_mar_sin_logo
DATES : 2009-2012
CLIENT: Government of Cantabria -Cuevas S. L.
TASKS : Development and management of a monitoring system for marine climate and water quality
. www.redvigia.es

- Study of the evolution of the Puntal Beach  Nueva imagen7

DATES : 2002-2011
CLIENT: Project -EU Seaway
TASKS: Monitoring the morphodynamic evolution of Santander spit tusing advanced video imagery technologies. 


-Development of a prototype for offshore wind potential measurement

DATES : 2010-2012
TASKS: Hydraulic Design of a support buoy, definition of the technical requirements and data post processing of the data capture system.


- Monitoring of thePrincipe de Asturias dam shoulder Principe de Asturias

DATES : 1994-1998
CLIENT: Port Authority of Gijón
TASKS: design and operation of a wave measurement system in fron of a breakwater a well as the actuations on the face of the dam Prince of Asturias




IH Cantabria tiene una larguísima trayectoria en proyectos de estructuras costeras. Bien sea para la defensa de tramos de costa amenazados (en los caso en los que una medida blanda no es posible) como en la protección de ámbitos portuarios, diseño de emisarios submarinos, estructuras de captación de agua, tomas y vertidos de desaladora, etc, IH Cantabria es su instituto de referencia. El conocimiento acumulado de IH Cantabria en el diseño de cientos de estructuras costeras, el empleo de las mejores y más modernas herramientas de trabajo (teórico, numérico y experimental (CCOB)) y la capacidad de enfocar desde la perspectiva de la investigación el diseño de estructuras no convencionales solo se conjuga en IH Cantabria.

IH Cantabria cuenta con el aval de haber sido pionero en el estudio de la interacción oleaje –estructura, así fue de los primeros institutos de Europa en el desarrollo de modelos de predicción de estabilidad de piezas en diques en talud, de modelos para el cálculo de acciones en los espaldones, del estudio del rebase sobre diques de escollera de baja cota y la estabilidad de sus piezas, etc. Clientes internacionales desde Abu Dhabi hasta Taiwan pasando por Europa, Africa y América han confiado a IH Cantabria la integridad de sus infraestructuras.

Algunos trabajos recientes:

- Estructuras para la estabilización de las playas de Finale Ligure (Italia) SpiaggiaCorallo

FECHAS: 2009
CLIENTE: Comune di Finale Ligure
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Estudio de alternativas para la estabilización de las playas y definición de actuación en planta y secciones tipo. Diseño de dique exento.


- Tomas de refrigeración para la desaladora de SaguntoPipeta 6 

FECHAS: 2010
CLIENTE: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Definición en planta y estructural de las obras de toma de agua de refrigeración de la desaladora.


- Diseño del emisario subacuático de Puntayeguas (Montevideo, Uruguay) 

2709010 CaneriaFECHAS: 2009
CLIENTE: Consorcio Seinco-Tahal
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Dirseño hidráulico y estrutural de la estrucrtura de vertido de aguas tratadas y su proteccion frente a las aciones del oleaje.


- Análisis preliminar del emisario submarino de Baku (Azerbaian) File0001

FECHAS: 2009
CLIENTE: Banco Mundial
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Análisis de la viabilidad técnica de la ejecución de un emisario submarino y prediseño de su protección.


- Asistencia en el diseño y estudio funcional de barreras rompeolas flotantesNueva imagen6 

FECHAS: 2008
TRABAJO REALIZADO: Estudio numérico y experimental de la eficacia de las barreras verticales perforadas como pantallas reductoras del oleaje. Estudio de determinados parámetros fisicos en la eficacia de las pantallas.

IH Cantabria has a vast amount of knowledge in the field of statistical analysis of environmental variables for many different types of studies: risk analysis; infrastructure life-cycle including pre-design, design, feasability, repairs and maintenance; or climate change. IH Cantabria is able to provide the research and technical background necessary to face many of the new challenges arising in this field.   This is especially true when looking at the continually increasing amount of information available on the variables affecting the marine and coastal environment, both instrumental data from buoys, meteorological stations, cameras, satellites, etc as wella s numerical reanalysis data which require special methodologies and allow including all the available information.

To this effect, IH Cantabria has participated in many different projects involving the statistical characterization of of environmental variables and the analysisi of their variability to be applied to differents fields:

  1. energetic exploitation of coastal resources and their optimization,
  2. climatic characterization of the marine physical environment,
  3. prevention and response modelling for spills in port, coastal and transitional waters,
  4. short, mid and longterm morphodynamic beach evolution,
  5. climate change effects on the coast,
  6. design of coastal infrastructures and wave interaction studies.

Relevant works:

- Multidisciplinary Research Consortium on Gradual and Abrupt Climate Changes an their Impacts on the Environment (GRACCIE)

DATES: 2007-2012ANV002
CLIENT: MCI. Programa Consolider Ingenio 2010 (CSD2007-00067)
TASKS: GRACCIE aims to develop prediction models which can assist society's adaptation process to short, mid and long term changes realted to climate change.


- Mathematic-statistical analisis of Environmental Variables (AMEVA) 

DATES: 2011-2013ANV004
CLIENT: Internal IH Cantabria project
TASKS: Development of a matlab based software to implement the different statistical tools developed at IH Cantabria. 


- Mathematic-statistical analisis of environmental variables and the integration into the processing of RISK in marine and coastal engineering (AMVAR)

DATES: 2011-2013ANV006
CLIENT: Plan Nacional del Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (CTM2010-15009) (Spanish Ministry of Innovation and Science)
TASKS: Development of new methodologies statistical analisis and description of environmental variables affecting coastal engineering projecfts as well as their integration for risk evaluation.


Published in Climate Change

Surf-zone mid-term morphodynamics (2010-2013), is an R&D project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy through the Juan de la Cierva programme. Its main goal is to research the impact of morphological changes which take place on the surf zone by developing  numerical models and analysing the data obtained through the  HORUS video monitoring system. The surf zone is a complex 3D system in which the morphologyresults not only from the exterior forcing or external structures, but also due to its own behaviour, producing rythmic bars and rip currents due to self organization mechanisms. These characteristic surf zone patterns affect the coast line and the width of the dry beach. 


Published in R&D projects



The Coastal Modelling System (SMC) is a tool that includes a set of methodologies and numerical models, which allow us to study coastal processes and to assess the variations of a beach due to natural events or human activities on the coast.


Faced with a problem on the coast, this methodology allows us to define who we are to carry out studies, spatial and temporal scales that we analyze, which we apply numerical tools that need input data for our analysis. With the SMC are conducted case studies of coastal engineering projects, allowing the analysis of actions at different stages of a study: diagnosis, pre-design, design and environmental impact.

SMC has been designed to be user friendly and has been adapted to many countries, with a wide range of applications.

SMC consists mainly of four modules:

Pre-processing module,

short-term module

medium and long term module

terrain module


Published in Software

The COASTVIEW(2002-2005) is a European project which brings together universities, research centers and institutions who have an interest in coastal management. The project aims to implement a video camera system to monitor the coast. It aims to show the usefulness of these types of systems to effectively manage coastal systems and help understand the morphodynamic processes taking place.

Within this project, IH Cantabria has installed a video system studying the beach of "El Puntal" of Santander. The implementation of this system and a series of field campaigns carried out within the project, provided the basis for the development of numerical models and algorithms that allow the identification of image based indicators, in order to solve problems related with navigation safety in the port access channels, understand and protect the beaches and dunes from potential erosion, flooding, dredging impacts or construction works, and of course the social aspects of a beach such as this one which is heavily used during both summer and winter seasons for many different sporting and tourist activities.


Published in R&D projects
Establishment of bathing water profiles for the main beaches of Cantabria, Spain (2010-2012)

The requirement to establish the " bathing water profiles " of beaches is an important new aspect of the  Directive on Bathing Water Quality ( 2007/7/EC ), which aims to incorporate a risk assessment, the usual water quality assessment.

The project aims to study th eprofile of 48 beaches  in Cantabria (Spain) and was commissioned in 2011 by the Regional Ministry of Environment of Cantabria. It was based on the characterization of the main pressures existing on the Cantabrian coast and in the modeling of the dispersion of indicators of bacterial contamination from various sources, which include urban discharges and livestock diffuse sources  storm drains, etc.. This has allowed us to establish the relationship between these discharges and pollution levels observed at the beaches. T

Hydrodynamic models and transport and dispersion of substances used in this study, have been developed by  IH Cantabria and , together with the
environmental risk assessment methodology, are a powerful tool to manage the quality of bathing areas.
One of IH Cantabria's traditional lines of research has been the development of numerical models for the study of coastal processes related to both marine and sediment transport dynamics along with morphological changes on beaches.

The dynamic line marine research focuses on the study of propagation of waves, currents and sea level from turbulent processes to the processes in the larger spatial and temporal scales.

The projects carriedout in beach morphodynamics have contributed to major scientific breakthroughs, simulating both the morphology of the beaches in the short term by means of beach plan evolution (2DH) and profile (2DV) models, as well as in the understanding of the processes in the long term, through the development of beach specific models which take into consideration seasonal variability in beaches.

IH Cantabria invests heavily in knowledge transfer of scientific results to ensure that they benefit society, implementing models and working methods which are the result of research and experience and making them more user friendly. An example of this type of tool is the Coastal Modelling System SMC. The models developed adhere to a continuous process of validation and callibration using experimental testing in our lab facilities IHLabHidro and field testing through our beach monitoring systems.

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