Variability in Long-Wave Runup as a Function of Nearshore Bathymetric Features
Beaches and barrier islands are vulnerable to extreme storm events, such as hurricanes, that can cause severe erosion and overwash to the system. Having dunes and a wide beach in front of coastal infrastructure can provide protection during a storm, but the influence that nearshore bathymetric features have in protecting the beach and barrier island system is not completely understood. The spatial variation in nearshore features, such as sand bars and beach cusps, can alter nearshore hydrodynamics, including wave setup and runup. The influence of bathymetric features on long-wave runup can be used in evaluating the vulnerability of coastal regions to erosion and dune overtopping, evaluating the changing morphology, and implementing plans to protect infrastructure. In this thesis, long-wave runup variation due to changing bathymetric features as determined with the numerical model XBeach is quantified (eXtreme Beach behavior model). Wave heights are analyzed to determine the energy through the surfzone. XBeach assumes that coastal erosion at the land-sea interface is dominated by bound long-wave processes. Several hydrodynamic conditions are used to force the numerical model. The XBeach simulation results suggest that bathymetric irregularity induces significant changes in the extreme long-wave runup at the beach and the energy indicator through the surfzone.