A Storm Hazard Matrix combining coastal flooding and beach erosion

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Authors

Christopher Kenji Leaman, Mitchell D Harley , Kristen D Splinter , Mandi C Thran , Michael A Kinsela , Ian L Turner 

Abstract

Coastal storms cause widespread damage to property, infrastructure, economic activity and the environment. Along open sandy coastlines, two of the primary coastal storm hazards are coastal flooding by elevated ocean water levels and beach erosion as the result of storm wave action. At continental margins characterized by a shallow, wide continental shelf, coastal storms are more commonly associated with amplified storm surge and the damaging impacts caused by flooding of low-lying land. In contrast, along margins where the continental shelf is narrow and deep, coastal storm impacts are more often characterized by extensive beach erosion, due to the typically lower magnitude of storm surge but a higher proportion of deepwater wave energy reaching the shoreline. A new Storm Hazard Matrix is presented that integrates these two distinct but inherently linked open coast hazards. The approach is based on the combination of two hazard scales. The first is a ‘coastal flooding hazard scale’ that follows an established framework in which hazards are predominately driven by the vertical increase in ocean water levels during storms. The second is a storm wave ‘beach erosion hazard scale’ where hazards are predominately driven by the horizontal recession of the sandy beach and dune. The resulting framework comprises a total of nine unique combinations of flooding/erosion storm hazard regimes, from which six unified, qualitative indicators of the total storm hazard level ranging from ‘Low’ to ‘Extreme’ are defined. Real-world application of the Storm Hazard Matrix is explored at contrasting coastlines for two major storm events, encompassing an extratropical cyclone that impacted the coastline of southeast Australia in June 2016, and Hurricane Ivan that impacted the Gulf Coast of the United States in 2004. The new approach is shown to identify and distinguish between the severity of localized coastal flooding and/or coastal erosion, as well as provide enhanced insight to the nature, magnitude and alongshore variation of coastal storm hazards along the impacted coastline. Within the context of disaster risk reduction, preparedness and operational early warning, implementation of the Storm Hazard Matrix has the potential to deliver robust evaluations of storm hazards spanning a wider variety of both wave-dominated and surge-dominated coasts.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5Q592

Subjects

Oceanography, Other Civil and Environmental Engineering

Keywords

Storm surge, Coastal erosion, Storm Impact Scale, Erosion Hazard Scale, Hurricane Ivan, East Coast Low, Storm hazard forecasting

Dates

Published: 2020-10-24 17:06

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License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:
None

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