Rob Bell, Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Principal Scientist, NIWA
“I had a unique opportunity to learn about the destructive power of tsunami, when I went to Thailand after the devastating Boxing Day tsunami in 2004"
For the past 35 years Rob has been researching natural hazards, such as king tides, coastal inundation, storms and tsunami.
Rob’s interest in all things water began when he was growing up in Pareora, a small coastal village south of Timaru with a river nearby. However his initial passion was for mathematics and science at high school. Combining these interests lead him to study civil engineering at the University of Canterbury specialising in environmental fluid mechanics, leading to a PhD in riverbed sediment transport in floods.
He learnt coastal oceanography “on the hoof” through books, computer modelling and lots of field work at amazing coastal areas, where he observed the processes first-hand.
Now Rob consults extensively on environmental projects on the coast and in estuaries, particularly the effects of wastewater discharges and dredging on the coast, plus coastal hazards and the impacts of climate change.