The recent availability of spatially-dense airborne lidar data makes assessment of the vulnerability of beaches and dunes to storm impacts practical over long reaches of coast. As an initial test, elevations of the tops (D high) and bases (Dlow) of foredune ridges along a 55-km reach on the northern Outer Banks, NC were found to have considerable spatial variability suggesting that different parts of the barrier island would respond differently to storms. Comparing statistics of storm wave runup to D high and Dlow, we found that net erosion due to overwash and dune retreat should be greatest at the northern and southern ends of the study area and least in the central section. This predicted spatial pattern of storm-induced erosion is similar to the spatial pattern of long-term erosion of the shoreline which may be controlled by additional processes (such as gradients in longshore transport) as well as the cross-shore processes considered here. However, consider feedback where at erosional hot spots there is a deficit of sand (caused by gradients in longshore transport) which lead to lower dunes and enhanced erosional cross-shore processes, such as overwash. Hence, the erosional hot spots would be exacerbated, further increasing the vulnerability of the beach and dunes to net erosion.
Additional publication details
Probabilistic assessment of beach and dune changes
Larger Work Title:
Coastal Engineering 2000 - Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, ICCE 2000
Coastal Engineering 2000 - 27th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, ICCE 2000