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Combining numerical and statistical models to predict storm-induced dune erosion

July 1, 2019

Dune erosion is an important aspect to consider when assessing coastal flood risk, as dune elevation loss makes the protected areas more susceptible to flooding. However, most advanced dune erosion numerical models are computationally expensive, which hinders their application in early-warning systems. Based on a combination of probabilistic and process-based numerical modeling, we develop an efficient statistical tool to predict dune erosion during storms. The analysis focuses on Dauphin Island, AL in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where we combine synthetic sea storms with a calibrated and validated XBeach model to develop and test a range of different surrogate models for their ability to predict barrier-island geometric parameters under storm conditions. Surrogate models are developed by combining the oceanographic forcing from 100 optimally sampled sea-storm events covering the entire multivariate parameter space (used as XBeach input) and associated changes in the dune system (XBeach output). We test four surrogate models using a k-fold approach for validation. All models perform well in predicting changes in dune elevation, barrier-island area, and width, but are less accurate in predicting alterations in the cross-shore locations of dune morphological features. Multivariate adaptive regression splines are identified as the best surrogate model based on their fast development and good performance, attaining a modified Mielke index of 0.81 for dune crest height. As demonstrated at Dauphin Island, our approach shows potential to be used in an operational framework to predict dune response (in particular crest elevation change) when water level and wave forecasts are available.

Publication Year 2019
Title Combining numerical and statistical models to predict storm-induced dune erosion
DOI 10.1029/2019JF005016
Authors Victor Malagon-Santos, Thomas Wahl, Joseph W Long, Davina Passeri, Nathaniel G. Plant
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Index ID 70208749
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center