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Evaluation of wave runup predictions from numerical and parametric models

January 1, 2015

Wave runup during storms is a primary driver of coastal evolution, including shoreline and dune erosion and barrier island overwash. Runup and its components, setup and swash, can be predicted from a parameterized model that was developed by comparing runup observations to offshore wave height, wave period, and local beach slope. Because observations during extreme storms are often unavailable, a numerical model is used to simulate the storm-driven runup to compare to the parameterized model and then develop an approach to improve the accuracy of the parameterization. Numerically simulated and parameterized runup were compared to observations to evaluate model accuracies. The analysis demonstrated that setup was accurately predicted by both the parameterized model and numerical simulations. Infragravity swash heights were most accurately predicted by the parameterized model. The numerical model suffered from bias and gain errors that depended on whether a one-dimensional or two-dimensional spatial domain was used. Nonetheless, all of the predictions were significantly correlated to the observations, implying that the systematic errors can be corrected. The numerical simulations did not resolve the incident-band swash motions, as expected, and the parameterized model performed best at predicting incident-band swash heights. An assimilated prediction using a weighted average of the parameterized model and the numerical simulations resulted in a reduction in prediction error variance. Finally, the numerical simulations were extended to include storm conditions that have not been previously observed. These results indicated that the parameterized predictions of setup may need modification for extreme conditions; numerical simulations can be used to extend the validity of the parameterized predictions of infragravity swash; and numerical simulations systematically underpredict incident swash, which is relatively unimportant under extreme conditions.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title Evaluation of wave runup predictions from numerical and parametric models
DOI 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2014.06.004
Authors Hilary F. Stockdon, David M. Thompson, Nathaniel G. Plant, Joseph W. Long
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Coastal Engineering
Series Number
Index ID 70159346
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center