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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Grazinglands Research Laboratory » Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #282300

Title: A simplified approach for simulating changes in beach habitat due to the combined effectgs of long-term sea level rise, storm erosion, and nourishment

item Guzman Jaimes, Jorge
item CHU-AGOR, MARIA - University Of Florida
item MUNOZ-CARPENA, RAFAEL - University Of Florida
item KIKER, GREGORY - University Of Florida
item LINKOV, IGOR - Us Army Research

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Modeling and Software
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2013
Publication Date: 2/1/2014
Citation: Guzman Jaimes, J.A., Chu-Agor, M.L., Munoz-Carpena, R., Kiker, G., Linkov, I. 2014. A simplified approach for simulating changes in beach habitat due to the combined effectgs of long-term sea level rise, storm erosion, and nourishment. Journal of Environmental Modeling and Software. 52:111-120.

Interpretive Summary: Abstract only

Technical Abstract: Better understanding of vulnerability of coastal habitats to sea level rise and major storm events require the use of simulation models. Coastal habitats also undergo frequent nourishment restoration works in order to maintain their viability. Vulnerability models must be able to assess the combined effects of sea level rise, major storms, and beach nourishment. This study quantified the habitat land cover changes in a 5-km stretch of beach in Santa Rosa Island, Florida due to the combined effects of long-term sea level rise, historic storm events, and nourishment using the newly modified Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM). A methodology to estimate spatial erosion patterns for a wide range of storm intensities was developed based on measured erosion during three historic storm events (hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Katrina). Effects of individual storms, successive storms, and random storms occurring over the 2012-2100 were evaluated. Results showed that a high intensity storm will have varying effects depending on its time of occurrence in the next 90 years. As sea level rise accelerates, the habitat becomes more vulnerable which results in more beach losses when storms occur at the later part of the century. Increased elevation due to beach nourishment reduced and delayed the losses during storm events. However, there is an increased risk of losing the habitat on average 3.5% every year for the next 24 years if nourishment was not implemented again. Probability distribution contours were constructed to evaluate the risk of losing the beach habitat in the next 90 years. Simulation results suggested that without nourishment, any storm with a category of tropical storm or higher will reduce the beach in the study area by 97-100%. This loss can be reduced to 60% by maintaining a 1-m beach elevation and can further be reduced to 34% with 1.5 m beach nourishment. The measured effects of storms were to reduce the elevation of the surface with an amount proportional to the intensity of the storm. The effects of subsequent storms (i.e. amount of area lost and the length of time the remaining area stays) depend on the intensity of the storm preceding them. This comprehensive analysis of the effects of important coastal processes on beach habitat and the ensuing restoration tradeoffs are proposed as a basis for environmental management.