Amaia Ruiz de Alegria-Arzaburu, Jon J Williams, Gerhard Masselink


The process-based XBeach numerical model has been used to simulate storm-induced morphological response on a macrotidal gravel barrier located in southwest UK. Using well-established parameterisation to define all relevant hydrodynamic, groundwater and sediment processes, the model was applied in 1D mode to simulate observed storm-induced beach profile responses. Investigations showed that the morphological response of the beach was best modelled using a total drag coefficient, CD, of 0.007, and a hydraulic conductivity, K, of 0.05ms-1. Results obtained from simulations with and without beach groundwater highlighted the need to account for groundwater effects when modelling morphological changes on gravel beaches. The model has been found unable of reproducing the formation of a berm, thus, beach recovery conditions cannot be modelled. This is mainly attributed to the fact that XBeach models long waves rather than individual waves, and thus it cannot simulate individual swash events that contribute to onshore sediment transport and berm accretion. However, the model is shown to provide good estimates of post-storm gravel beach/barrier profiles, and to define the threshold for overwash occurrence. Both attributes have utility in a range of practical coastal engineering and management applications.


XBeach; gravel barrier; modelling; storm response; barrier overwash; morphodynamics


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