Wave dynamics and flooding on low-lying tropical reef-lined coasts

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Abstract

Many tropical islands and coasts are lined with coral reefs. These reefs are host to valuable ecosystems that support abundant marine species and provide resources for fisheries and recreation. As a flood defense, reefs protect coastlines from coastal storm damage and flooding by reducing the majority of incident wave energy. However, during storm and large swell conditions, coastal wave-driven flooding and overwash still occur due to high water levels, (infra) gravity waves, and/or low-frequency wave resonance. The wave and flooding effects cause erosion, damage to infrastructure, agricultural crops, and salinization of precious drinking water supplies. These impacts, which are likely to increase due to climate change and ongoing development on the islands, may cause many low-lying tropical islands and coastal areas to become uninhabitable before the end of the century. This paper investigates aspects of wave dynamics for the case of a small island in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shows projections of flooding under climate change scenarios, and outlines approaches to generalize the results to other islands, including mitigation options.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Wave dynamics and flooding on low-lying tropical reef-lined coasts
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Coastal Dynamics
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Proceedings Coastal Dynamics 2017
First page 654
Last page 664
Conference Title Coastal Dynamics 2017
Conference Location Helsingør, Denmark
Conference Date June 12-16, 2017