Identifying Oceanographic Conditions Conducive to Coastal Impacts on Temperate Open Coastal Beaches

A new paper is JUST published in Natural Hazards, focusing on the relationships between ocean conditions and coastal impacts, such as shoreline change or flooding of coastal assets (e.g. flooded access points, overtopping of sea walls). The paper is entitled :"Identifying oceanographic conditions conducive to coastal impacts on temperate open coastal beaches".

Image from Leach et al. (2021)


Warnings issued by meteorological or oceanographic agencies are a common means of allowing people to prepare for likely impactful events. Quantifying the relationships between ocean conditions and coastal impacts, such as shoreline change or flooding of coastal assets (e.g. flooded access points, overtopping of sea walls) is crucial for developing operational coastal hazard warnings. Existing studies have largely omitted empirical data, relying on modelling to estimate total water levels and impact potentials. It is well documented that site-specific conditions influence local morphodynamics and as such, detailed data related to the physical environment is a necessary component of these existing approaches. The capacity to collect these data is not always available, however, and so an alternative approach that does no rely on detailed modelling may be necessary in some instances to identify the conditions that lead to coastal impacts.


They propose an alternative empirically based approach for isolating oceanic conditions that are conducive to impact along open coasts, using two case studies from Victoria, southeast Australia: Port Fairy and Inverloch. Oceanic conditions were defined using data obtained from a WAVEWATCH III (WW3) model hindcast, assessed against newly installed wave buoys, which evidenced variation in mean conditions between the two sites. They coupled impact-based data derived from citizen-science and social media to modelled and observational data, to identify the oceanic conditions that led to impacts. They found heterogeneity in the response of the case study locations to deviations from the local mean wave characteristics and still water levels. This paper demonstrates an approach through which impact-based thresholds for erosion could be developed for management applications and early warning systems.


This project was funded by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning as part of the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program (VCMP) supported by the Sustainability Fund, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne.


This publication was led by Dr. Chloe Leach (The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), and Rafael C. Carvalho and Daniel Ierodiaconou from our group contributed to the publication.


Congrats to Rafael, Dan and the DU Marine Mapping Group!

To read the full article, click here.

Last edited on the June 27th, 2021.

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