, Volume 62, Issue 7, pp 1001-1015
Date: 31 May 2012

Toward reliable storm-hazard forecasts: XBeach calibration and its potential application in an operational early-warning system

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The study aims to calibrate/validate and apply the dune-erosion model, XBeach, in order to predict morphological response to storm events along a meso-tidal, steeply sloping beach. More than 10,000 XBeach calibration runs, including different model parameters and erosion events, were compared with measurements of beach-profile response to storm conditions. Off-shore wave and tidal measurements were used as input for a SWAN wave model, which was used to provide wave conditions to XBeach. The results indicate that using XBeach to predict beach-profile morphodynamic response during storm events on steeply sloping intermediate-to-reflective beaches may be more demanding than for dissipative beaches and that the default model setup can overestimate dune/beach-face erosion. The performance of the model after calibration was satisfactory, with Brier Skill Scores from 0.2 to 0.72. XBeach was found to be more sensitive to input parameters such as the beach-face slope and the surf similarity parameter ξ (especially for values ξ > 0.6). The calibrated XBeach setup was used for simulations of storm scenarios with different return periods (5, 25, and 50 years), and the simulations highlighted the fragility of the dune field and the potential for storm-induced dune retreat, lowering, and overwash in the study area. Finally, the nested SWAN/XBeach models were forced by an existing operational wave-forecast WAVEWATCH-III/SWAN model, operated by the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute to generate daily forecasts of storm impact and serve as a prototype-case for an early warning system for storm hazard mitigation.

Responsible Editor: Pierre Lermusiaux
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Multi-scale modelling of coastal, shelf, and global ocean dynamics