Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 123–137 | Cite as

Coastal vulnerability assessment based on video wave run-up observations at a mesotidal, steep-sloped beach

  • Michalis Ioannis Vousdoukas
  • Dagmara Wziatek
  • Luis Pedro Almeida
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Maritime Rapid Environmental Assessment


Coastal imagery obtained from a coastal video monitoring station installed at Faro Beach, S. Portugal, was combined with topographic data from 40 surveys to generate a total of 456 timestack images. The timestack images were processed in an open-access, freely available graphical user interface (GUI) software, developed to extract and process time series of the cross-shore position of the swash extrema. The generated dataset of 2% wave run-up exceedence values R 2 was used to form empirical formulas, using as input typical hydrodynamic and coastal morphological parameters, generating a best-fit case RMS error of 0.39 m. The R 2 prediction capacity was improved when the shore-normal wind speed component and/or the tidal elevation η tide were included in the parameterizations, further reducing the RMS errors to 0.364 m. Introducing the tidal level appeared to allow a more accurate representation of the increased wave energy dissipation during low tides, while the negative trend between R 2 and the shore-normal wind speed component is probably related to the wind effect on wave breaking. The ratio of the infragravity-to-incident frequency energy contributions to the total swash spectra was in general lower than the ones reported in the literature E infra/E inci > 0.8, since low-frequency contributions at the steep, reflective Faro Beach become more significant mainly during storm conditions. An additional parameterization for the total run-up elevation was derived considering only 222 measurements for which η total,2 exceeded 2 m above MSL and the best-fit case resulted in RMS error of 0.41 m. The equation was applied to predict overwash along Faro Beach for four extreme storm scenarios and the predicted overwash beach sections, corresponded to a percentage of the total length ranging from 36% to 75%.


Wave run-up Beach dynamics Swash zone Nearshore waves Video imaging of waves Image processing 



The authors gratefully acknowledge European Community Seventh Framework Programme funding under the research project MICORE (grant agreement No. 202798). We are also indebted to the Restaurant “Paquete” for allowing us to deploy the cameras on their rooftop and for supplying electric power and space for our equipment. We are also thankful to Dr. Oscar Ferreira for the help and support, to Dr. Rui Taborda for providing the video cameras, and to Dr. Andre Pacheco, Umberto Andriolo, and Fotis Psaros for their contributions in the fieldwork.


  1. Aagaard T, Holm D (1989) Digitization of wave runup using video records. J Coast Res 5:547–551Google Scholar
  2. Almeida LP, Ferreira Ó, Pacheco A (2010) Thresholds for morphological changes on an exposed sandy beach as a function of wave height. Earth Surf Proc Landforms 36:523–532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Almeida LP, Ferreira Ó, Vousdoukas M, Dodet G (2011a) Historical variation and trends in storminess along the Portuguese south coast. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci. doi: 10.5194/nhess-11-1-2011
  4. Almeida LP, Vousdoukas MI, Ferreira ÓM, Rodrigues BA, Matias A (2011b) Thresholds for storm impacts on an exposed sandy coastal area in southern Portugal. Geomorphology. doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2011.04.047
  5. Baldock TE, Holmes P (1999) Simulation and prediction of swash oscillations on a steep beach. Coast Eng 36(3):219–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Battjes JA (1974) Surf similarity. In: 14th Conference on Coastal Engineering. ASCE, pp 466–480Google Scholar
  7. Bouguet J-Y (2007) Camera Calibration Toolbox for Matlab.
  8. Briganti R, Bellotti G, Franco L, De Rouck J, Geeraerts J (2005) Field measurements of wave overtopping at the rubble mound breakwater of Rome-Ostia yacht harbour. Coast Eng 52(12):1155–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dean RG (2001) Beach nourishment: theory and practice. Advanced series on ocean engineering. World Scientific, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Douglass SL (1990) Influence of wind on breaking waves. J Waterw Port Coast Ocean Eng 116(6):651–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Douglass SL (1992) Estimating extreme values of run-up on beaches. J Waterw Port Coast Ocean Eng 118(2):220–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Erikson LH, Hanes DM, Barnard PM, Gibbs AE (2006) Swash zone characteristics at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA. In: 30th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  13. Ferreira Ó, Vousdoukas MV, Ciavola P (2009) MICORE review of climate change impacts on storm occurrence (open access, Deliverable WP1.4).
  14. Ferreira Ó, Garcia T, Matias A, Taborda R, Dias JA (2006) An integrated method for the determination of set-back lines for coastal erosion hazards on sandy shores. Cont Shelf Res 26(9):1030–1044CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Folk RL (1980) Petrology of the sedimentary rocks. Hemphill, AustinGoogle Scholar
  16. Fredsoe JE, Deigaard R (1992) Mechanics of coastal sediment transport. Advanced series on ocean engineering. World Scientific, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hartley R, Zisserman A (2006) Multiple view geometry in computer vision. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  18. Holland KT, Holman RA (1991) Measuring run-up on a natural beach II. EOS Trans Am Geophys Union 72:254Google Scholar
  19. Holland KT, Holman RA (1993) The statistical distribution of swash maxima on natural beaches. J Geophys Res 87:10271–10278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holland KT, Raubenheimer B, Guza RT, Holman RA (1995) Run-up kinematics on a natural beach. J Geophys Res 100(C3):4985–4993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holman RA (1986) Extreme value statistics for wave run-up on a natural beach. Coast Eng 9:527–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Holman RA, Guza RT (1984) Measuring run-up on a natural beach. Coast Eng 8:129–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Holman RA, Stanley J (2007) The history and technical capabilities of Argus. Coast Eng 54(6–7):477–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hunt IA (1959) Design of seawalls and breakwaters. J Waterw Harb Div ASCE 85(WW3):123–152Google Scholar
  25. Iribarren CR, Nogales C (1949) Protection des Ports. In: XVIIth International Navigation Congress, Lisbon, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  26. Karambas TV, Koutitas C (2002) Surf and swash zone morphology evolution induced by nonlinear waves. J Waterw Port Coast Ocean Eng 128(3)Google Scholar
  27. Korycansky DG, Lynett PJ (2007) Run-up from impact tsunami. Geophys J Int 170:1076–1088CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kroon A, Davidson MA, Aarninkhof SGJ, Archetti R, Armaroli C, Gonzalez M, Medri S, Osorio A, Aagaard T, Holman RA, Spanhoff R (2007) Application of remote sensing video systems to coastline management problems. Coast Eng 54(6–7):493–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Larson M, Kubota S, Erikson L (2004) Swash-zone sediment transport and foreshore evolution: field experiments and mathematical modeling. Mar Geol 212(1–4):61–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lin P, Liu PL-F (1998) A numerical study of breaking waves in the surf zone. J Fluid Mech 359:239–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. MacMahan JH, Thornton EB, Stanton TP, Reniers AJHM (2005) RIPEX: observations of a rip current system. Mar Geol 218(1–4):113–134. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2005.03.019 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. MacMahan JH, Thornton EB, Reniers AJHM (2006) Rip current review. Coast Eng 53(2–3):191–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mase H (1988) Spectral characteristics of random wave run-up. Coast Eng 12:175–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Masselink G (1998) The effect of sea breeze on beach morphology, surf zone hydrodynamics and sediment resuspension. Mar Geol 146(1–4):115–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mei CC (1994) The applied dynamics of ocean surface waves. In: Advanced series on ocean engineering, vol. 1. World Scientific, LondonGoogle Scholar
  36. Munoz-Perez JJ, de San L, Roman-Blanco B, Gutierrez-Mas JM, Moreno L, Cuena GJ (2001) Cost of beach maintenance in the Gulf of Cadiz (SW Spain). Coast Eng 42(2):143–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Otsu N (1979) A threshold selection method from gray-level histograms. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern 9:62–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pearre NS, Puleo JA (2009) Quantifying seasonal shoreline variability at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, using automated imaging techniques. J Coast Res 25(4):900–914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pires HO (1998) Preliminary report on the wave climate at Faro. Project India. Instituto de Meteorologia–Instituto Superior Técnico, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  40. Raubenheimer B, Guza RT (1996) Observations and predictions of runup. J Geophys Res 101:25575–25587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ruessink BK, Kleinhans MG, van den Beukel PGL (1998) Observations of swash under highly dissipative conditions. J Geophys Res 103:3111–3118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ruggiero P, Komar PD, McDougal WG, Marra JJ, Beach RA (2001) Wave runup, extreme water levels and the erosion of properties backing beaches. J Coast Res 17(2):407–419Google Scholar
  43. Ruggiero P, Holman RA, Beach RA (2004) Wave run-up on a high-energy dissipative beach. J Geophys Res 109(C06025). doi: 10.1029/2003JC002160
  44. Sallenger AH (2000) Storm impact scale for barrier islands. J Coast Res 16:890–895Google Scholar
  45. Schaffer HA, Madsen PA, Deigaard R (1993) A Boussinesq model for waves breaking in shallow water. Coast Eng 20:185–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith KR, Bryan KR (2007) Monitoring beach volume using a combination of intermittent profiling and video imagery. J Coast Res 23(4):892–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stockdon HF, Holman RA, Howd PA, Sallenger JAH (2006) Empirical parameterization of setup, swash, and runup. Coast Eng 53(7):573–588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Synolakis CE (1987) The run-up of solitary waves. J Fluid Mech 185:523–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ting FCK, Kirby JT (1995) Dynamics of surf-zone turbulence in a strong plunging breaker. Coast Eng 24(3–4):177–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. US Army Corps of Engineers (2002) Coastal engineering manual. Engineer manual 1110-2-1100 (in 6 volumes). US Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  51. Veeramony J, Svendsen IA (2000) The flow in surf-zone waves. Coast Eng 39(2–4):93–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Velegrakis AF, Vousdoukas MI, Vagenas AM, Karambas T, Dimou K, Zarkadas T (2007) Field observations of waves generated by passing ships: a note. Coast Eng 54:369–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Vousdoukas MI, Velegrakis AF, Dimou K, Zervakis V, Conley DC (2009a) Wave run-up observations in microtidal, sediment-starved pocket beaches of the Eastern Mediterranean. J Mar Syst 78(Supplement 1):S37–S47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vousdoukas MI, Velegrakis AF, Karambas TV (2009b) Morphology and sedimentology of a microtidal, beachrock-infected beach: Vatera Beach, Lesvos, NE Mediterranean. Cont Shelf Res 29(16):1937–1947CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vousdoukas MI, Ferreira PM, Almeida LP, Dodet G, Andriolo U, Psaros F, Taborda R, Silva AN, Ruano AE, Ferreira Ó (2011) Performance of intertidal topography video monitoring of a meso-tidal reflective beach in South Portugal. Ocean Dyn. doi: 10.1007/s10236-011-0440-5
  56. Wright LD, Short AD (1984) Morphodynamic variability of surf zones and beaches: a synthesis. Mar Geol 56(1–4):93–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Xue C (2001) Coastal erosion and management of Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. J Coast Res 17(4):909–918Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michalis Ioannis Vousdoukas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dagmara Wziatek
    • 3
  • Luis Pedro Almeida
    • 2
  1. 1.Forschungszentrum KüsteHannoverGermany
  2. 2.CIMAUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  3. 3.Leibniz University HannoverHannoverGermany

Personalised recommendations