Natural Hazards

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 1095–1125 | Cite as

Development of the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) for predicting the impact of storms on high-energy, active-margin coasts

  • Patrick L. Barnard
  • Maarten van Ormondt
  • Li H. Erikson
  • Jodi Eshleman
  • Cheryl Hapke
  • Peter Ruggiero
  • Peter N. Adams
  • Amy C. Foxgrover
Original Paper


The Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) applies a predominantly deterministic framework to make detailed predictions (meter scale) of storm-induced coastal flooding, erosion, and cliff failures over large geographic scales (100s of kilometers). CoSMoS was developed for hindcast studies, operational applications (i.e., nowcasts and multiday forecasts), and future climate scenarios (i.e., sea-level rise + storms) to provide emergency responders and coastal planners with critical storm hazards information that may be used to increase public safety, mitigate physical damages, and more effectively manage and allocate resources within complex coastal settings. The prototype system, developed for the California coast, uses the global WAVEWATCH III wave model, the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimetry-based global tide model, and atmospheric-forcing data from either the US National Weather Service (operational mode) or Global Climate Models (future climate mode), to determine regional wave and water-level boundary conditions. These physical processes are dynamically downscaled using a series of nested Delft3D-WAVE (SWAN) and Delft3D-FLOW (FLOW) models and linked at the coast to tightly spaced XBeach (eXtreme Beach) cross-shore profile models and a Bayesian probabilistic cliff failure model. Hindcast testing demonstrates that, despite uncertainties in preexisting beach morphology over the ~500 km alongshore extent of the pilot study area, CoSMoS effectively identifies discrete sections of the coast (100s of meters) that are vulnerable to coastal hazards under a range of current and future oceanographic forcing conditions, and is therefore an effective tool for operational and future climate scenario planning.


Modeling Storms Inundation Erosion Cliff Beach Hazards 



The authors wish to thank the US Geological Survey, Deltares, NOAA, and the National Park Service for funding this research. Early peer reviews of CoSMoS were provided by Jim Bailard, Rebecca Beavers, Carolynn Box, Kate Dallas, Lesley Ewing, Doug George, Bob Guza, Dan Hanes, Jeff Hansen, Dan Hoover, Jeff List, Bill O’Reilly, Dano Roelvink, Julie Thomas, and Dirk-Jan Walstra. PNA thanks Jessica Lovering for assistance with LST gradient calculations. Torrey Pines beach survey data and concurrent nearshore wave predictions were provided by Scripps Institution of Oceanography and were funded by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Division of Boating and Waterways, and the US Army Corps of Engineers. The most up-to-date information on CoSMoS, including study areas, methods, model results, and publications, can be found at


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Copyright information

© Us Government 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick L. Barnard
    • 1
  • Maarten van Ormondt
    • 2
  • Li H. Erikson
    • 1
  • Jodi Eshleman
    • 3
  • Cheryl Hapke
    • 4
  • Peter Ruggiero
    • 5
  • Peter N. Adams
    • 6
  • Amy C. Foxgrover
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Coastal and Marine Science CenterUnited States Geological SurveySanta CruzUSA
  2. 2.Deltares-Delft HydraulicsDelftThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Geologic Resources Division, Natural Resource Program CenterNational Park ServiceLakewoodUSA
  4. 4.Coastal and Marine Geology ProgramUnited States Geological SurveySt. PetersburgUSA
  5. 5.Department of GeosciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  6. 6.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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