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Neglecting the effect of long- and short-term erosion can lead to spurious coastal flood risk projections and maladaptation

Abstract: Flooding and erosion are among the most relevant hazards for coastal regions and although they are linked, their inherent complexity has typically led them to be addressed separately, potentially leading to highly uncertain estimates. This paper has three aims: (a) to present a methodology for coupling coastal flood projections with shoreline changes; (b) to quantify the effects of neglecting the coupling of flooding and erosion on future projections at a case study location; and (c) to analyse the relative importance of the climate-related uncertainty sources. We use a suite of statistical, process-based, and physics-based models to generate and downscale storms, compute water levels affected by storm morphodynamics and long-term profile changes and propagate flooding over topo-bathymetries that are in turn modified to incorporate the impact of sea-level rise, longshore sediment transport and storm-driven erosion. We sample climate uncertainty by considering storm variability (synthetic generation) and ensembles of radiative forcing scenarios, regional climate models, and sea-level rise trajectories. For illustration purposes, we consider a 40-km coastal stretch in the Spanish Mediterranean. We find that if the effect of erosion is neglected, the mean values of the total water level and flooded area can be either over- or underestimated by up to 18% and 22%, and up to 7% and 85%, respectively, with respect to our coupled results. The factors that most influence total water levels are storm erosion and profile geometry, highlighting the relevance of using real profiles in shoreface translation. In the flooded area, longshore transport can play a fundamental enhancing role. We also find that the coupling approach used can contribute more to the projection of flooded areas than the choice of climate models and sea-level rise trajectories even by 2100 (up to 76% versus 8% and 16%, respectively). We conclude that neglecting erosion effects on coastal flooding can have management implications, especially for urban beaches, leading to poor adaptation planning and maladaptation.

 Fuente: Coastal Engineering, 2023, 179, 104248

 Publisher: Elsevier

 Publication date: 01/01/2023

 No. of pages: 21

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2022.104248

 ISSN: 0378-3839,1872-7379

 Spanish project: PID2021-126506OB-100

 European project: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/H2020/101003598/EU/COASTAL CLIMATE CORE SERVICES/CoCliCo/

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