A pinboard by
Tommy Fellowes

PhD Candidate , Macquarie University


Embayed (headland) beaches represent over 50% of the world’s beaches. They are diverse systems that form a natural barrier to high-energy storm conditions. Furthermore, embayed beaches are going to experience future climate change induced increases to sea level and changes in storm intensity and frequency. Many embayed beaches have an energy gradient along-shore that is caused by rocky headland protrusion, wave refraction and the beach’s aspect to regular incoming waves. Minimal work has previously been done investigating embayment shape to incorporate the depth of the embayment (i.e., the seaward tip of headlands to the back of the beach) and the angle of headland protrusion, despite these being important contributing factors to the short and long term erosion/accretion rates found on embayed beaches. Using a combination of satellite imagery, monthly topographic beach surveys and continuous offshore wave measurements this research is determining what geological forms (i.e., headlands, beach aspect, sediment budget, underwater rocky shelfs, etc.) impact the movement of sediments within a beach system under varied wave-energy conditions. It has been found that embayment geological setting (i.e., shape and dimensions) and embayed beach length play an important part in determining much of the sediment process that impact storm erosion and recovery rates. Ultimately this allows us to create models that can explain how these systems are evolving under conditions today and will help describe how they may in our near future with climate change impacts. Understanding how headlands and the embayment setting impact embayed beach geomorphology will help to identify embayed beaches that are currently vulnerable or will be with future climate change projections, with important implications for future beach and coastal management.


JMSE, Vol. 4, Pages 30: Assessing Embayed Equilibrium State, Beach Rotation and Environmental Forcing Influences; Tenby Southwest Wales, UK

Abstract: The morphological change of a headland bay beach—Tenby, West Wales, UK—was analysed over a 73-year period (1941–2014). Geo-referenced aerial photographs were used to extract shoreline positions which were subsequently compared with wave models based on storm event data. From the 1941 baseline, results showed shoreline change rates reduced over time with regression models enabling a prediction of shoreline equilibrium circa 2061. Further temporal analyses showed southern and central sector erosion and northern accretion, while models identified long-term plan-form rotation, i.e., a negative phase relationship between beach extremities and a change from negative to positive correlation within the more stable central sector. Models were then used in conjunction with an empirical 2nd order polynomial equation to predict the 2061 longshore equilibrium shoreline position under current environmental conditions. Results agreed with previous regional research which showed that dominant south and southwesterly wave regimes influence south to north longshore drift with counter drift generated by less dominant easterly regimes. The equilibrium shoreline was also used to underpin flood and inundation assessments, identifying areas at risk and strategies to increase resilience. UK shoreline management plans evaluate coastal vulnerability based upon temporal epochs of 20, 50 and 100 years. Therefore, this research evaluating datasets spanning 73 years has demonstrated the effectiveness of linear regression in integrating temporal and spatial consequences of sea level rise and storms. The developed models can be used to predict future shoreline positions aligned with shoreline management plan epochs and inform embayed beach shoreline assessments at local, regional and international scales, by identifying locations of vulnerability and enabling the development of management strategies to improve resilience under scenarios of sea level rise and climate change.

Pub.: 08 Apr '16, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

Assessing the extreme overwash regime along an embayed urban beach

Abstract: Publication date: 1 December 2016 Source:Geomorphology, Volume 274 Author(s): Tanya M. Silveira, Rui Taborda, Mafalda M. Carapuço, César Andrade, Maria C. Freitas, João F. Duarte, Norbert P. Psuty Coastal overwash is one of the most important hazards affecting the coastal zone and therefore has been the focus of several studies related to the establishment of setback lines. However, studies of extreme overwash (EO) events along urban beaches backed by a seawall or structure are scarce, and reveal the difficulties associated with its assessment, measurement and validation. The Nazaré coastal urban area (located on the west coast of Portugal) is developed adjacent to an embayed reflective beach and is subject to frequent and localized inundation due to EO events capable of overtopping the protection seawall. The current work develops a methodological approach to simulate total water levels (TWL) and seawall overtopping occurrences in time and space, with the ultimate goal of identifying the factors that govern the extreme overwash regime. The method uses multi-decadal time series of site-specific wave and tide, and high-resolution topo-bathymetric data, and recreates the TWL time series for a 36-year period. The model is successfully validated against video imagery and maximum swash line data that provide information on the reach of the water levels measured during modal and extreme TWL conditions along the studied beach. This study establishes the importance of the interaction of the modal and extreme hydrodynamic processes with the beach and backshore morphology. The Nazaré embayment is in equilibrium with the alongshore-varying modal wave conditions, resulting in higher vulnerability of the most sheltered sector during extreme events.

Pub.: 17 Sep '16, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

Wave breaking patterns control rip current flow regimes and surfzone retention

Abstract: Recent research into rip currents has revealed the existence of multiple circulation patterns, meaning that no single escape strategy is appropriate in all situations. Rip circulation is influenced by surfzone morphology, which can be inferred from wave breaking patterns in video imagery. Wave breaking often occurs over the bars adjacent to the rip channel, with little breaking over the seaward end of the rip. However, under varying wave and tide conditions, breaking can also occur at the seaward extent of rip channels. Here, we use this difference as a novel wave dissipation parameter to classify a rip channel as either ‘open’ or ‘closed’ in terms of rip-head wave breaking. A 4-day field study provided Lagrangian rip current data at a macrotidal, dissipative beach monitored by a coastal imaging system. Using this new parameter, rip channels that were identified as closed exhibited a 31% increase in current speeds and 43% increase in horizontal vorticity compared to open channels. The transition between open and closed channels occurred over a single tidal cycle, which altered surfzone retention rates. Closed channels promoted surfzone retention, with < 25% of drifters exiting the surfzone. In comparison, open channels were more conducive to exchange, with exit rates up to 91%. Analysis of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution lifeguard rip incident database showed that open rips were disproportionately represented in the occurrence of rescue events, and calculated here to be twice as dangerous as closed rips. The use of this new open/closed parameter could be used by surf lifesaving organisations, and may have implications for the cross-shore exchange of sediment and pollutants.

Pub.: 29 Oct '16, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

The extreme 2013/2014 winter storms: Beach recovery along the southwest coast of England

Abstract: Sand and gravel beaches naturally act as a coastal buffer, absorbing wave energy and dynamically adapting to the seasonal and long-term wave climate. Significant shifts in nearshore morphology can occur during extreme wave events, which can have a significant impact on coastal vulnerability. During the winter of 2013/14, the Atlantic coast of Europe received an unprecedented sequence of very energetic wave conditions (8-week mean offshore Hs = 4.4 m). These events caused extensive physical (beach and dune erosion) and socio-economic (flooding, damage to infrastructure) impacts throughout the west coast of Europe. Many monitored sites in the UK and France were in their most eroded state since morphological records began (5–10 years). We consider the geomorphological significance of the storm response at 38 natural beaches in the southwest of England, ranging from semi-sheltered reflective gravel barriers to ultra-dissipative exposed sand beaches with dunes. The extent and patterns of post-storm recovery are examined in detail at three beaches with characteristic storm response behaviours. Exposed sandy beaches were dominated by cross-shore transport processes leading to significant loss of sediment offshore from the intertidal zone (> 200 m3/m); exposed gravel beaches were dominated by overwash with significant loss landward; and semi-sheltered sites exposed to more oblique wave forcing were dominated by a rotational response due to alongshore sediment redistribution. Due to these contrasting responses, mechanisms and timescales for beach recovery displayed strong inter-site and intra-site variations. In offshore and rotational cases, the recovery processes were multi-annual, comprising seasonal to decadal signals and were intrinsically linked to the storm response mechanisms, while permanent losses occurred when overwash dominated. We show that post-storm recovery does not necessarily occur during calm periods and that in many cases high-energy wave events appear to be essential for recovery of sediment (offshore and counter-rotation). Our results highlight the significance of dominant climatic oscillations, multi-annual storm sequencing, storm tracks and resultant variations in wave angle, in controlling the impact that extreme wave events have on contrasting sand/gravel beaches in exposed/sheltered locations.

Pub.: 31 Oct '16, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

Development of the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) for predicting the impact of storms on high-energy, active-margin coasts

Abstract: The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) applies a predominantly deterministic framework to make detailed predictions (meter scale) of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers). CoSMoS was developed for hindcast studies, operational applications (i.e., nowcasts and multiday forecasts), and future climate scenarios (i.e., sea-level rise + storms) to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm hazards information that may be used to increase public safety, mitigate physical damages, and more effectively manage and allocate resources within complex coastal settings. The prototype system, developed for the California coast, uses the global WAVEWATCH III wave model, the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimetry-based global tide model, and atmospheric-forcing data from either the US National Weather Service (operational mode) or Global Climate Models (future climate mode), to determine regional wave and water-level boundary conditions. These physical processes are dynamically downscaled using a series of nested Delft3D-WAVE (SWAN) and Delft3D-FLOW (FLOW) models and linked at the coast to tightly spaced XBeach (eXtreme Beach) cross-shore profile models and a Bayesian probabilistic cliff failure model. Hindcast testing demonstrates that, despite uncertainties in preexisting beach morphology over the ~500 km alongshore extent of the pilot study area, CoSMoS effectively identifies discrete sections of the coast (100s of meters) that are vulnerable to coastal hazards under a range of current and future oceanographic forcing conditions, and is therefore an effective tool for operational and future climate scenario planning.

Pub.: 21 May '14, Pinned: 30 Aug '17

Shoreline recovery on wave-dominated sandy coastlines: the role of sandbar morphodynamics and nearshore wave parameters

Abstract: This study quantifies and characterises the temporal variability of shoreline recovery on a high-energy sandy coastline using a 10-year dataset of daily shoreline and sandbar positions from a Coastal Imaging station at Narrabeen-Collaroy Beach, Australia. Following a total of 82 individual storm events, rates of the cross-shore return of the shoreline to its pre-storm position were analysed. Observed rates during shoreline recovery were characterised by an overall mean of ~ 0.2 m/day. Temporal variability in rates was most evident at shorter timescales of 1–2 weeks and included rates most frequently between 0 and 0.3 m/day, less frequent more rapid rates of up to 2 m/day and also minor landward movements. This temporal variability was significantly correlated with nearshore forcing parameters describing the ratio of wave height to wave period, the cross-shore proximity (and attachment) of the sandbar to the shoreline and the rate of cross-shore sandbar migration. These findings are summarised in a new conceptual model that characterises temporal phases and rates of shoreline recovery corresponding to stages of onshore sandbar migration following a storm, from fully detached storm-deposited sandbar morphology through to complete sandbar welding with the shoreline. More gradual shoreline recovery rates are observed with fully detached and semi-attached sandbar conditions. In contrast, more rapid rates of shoreline recovery occur when sandbars are closer and attached to the shoreline, observed to be on average 3–4 times greater than for detached sandbars. In conditions with attached and semi-attached sandbars, shoreline recovery rates are negatively correlated to the forcing of nearshore wave steepness and dimensionless fall velocity, and coupled with concurrent rates of onshore sandbar migration. The findings provide insight into key parameters influencing shoreline recovery following storms.

Pub.: 14 Jan '17, Pinned: 30 Aug '17