Geometric properties of anthropogenic flood control berms on southern California beaches

Citation:
Gallien, TW, O'Reilly WC, Flick RE, Guza RT.  2015.  Geometric properties of anthropogenic flood control berms on southern California beaches. Ocean & Coastal Management. 105:35-47.

Date Published:

2015/03

Keywords:

airborne lidar, Anthropogenic dune, Artificial sand dune, beach, Beach scraping, coastal defense structures, Coastal management, construction, dune erosion, Dune management, erosion, Flood, impact, LIDAR, mitigation, nourishment, perspective, prediction, Sacrificial dune, Sand embankment, scale, wave models, Winter dune

Abstract:

Coastal flood riskfrom coincident high tides' and energetic waves is concentrated around low-lying urban areas. Municipalities construct temporary sand berms (also known as sacrificial dunes) to manage potential flooding, however the relationships between berm geometry (e.g., height, width and length) and performance are not understood. Concomitant pressures of sea level rise and urbanization will increase active beach berming. Effective future coastal flood risk management will depend upon optimizing berm efficacy relative to geometry, placement, and water levels. Here, 34 individual berms at seven southern California locations are characterized using 18 LiDAR datasets spanning nearly a decade. Three berm classifications emerged based on deployment duration: event, seasonal and persistent. Event berms, deployed to manage specific storms or high water events, are triangular in cross-section, relatively low volume (similar to 4 m(3)/m) and low crest elevation (similar to 5 m NAVD88). Seasonal berms are larger, volumes vary from 6 to 28 m(3)/m, and average crest elevations are between 5.3 and 6.4 m. A persistent berm, captured in all LiDAR data for that area, is the largest (48 m(3)/m), longest (1.2 km), and highest mean crest elevation (7 m NAVD88) of all study berms. Total water levels, estimated using observed tides and a regional wave model coupled with an empirical runup formula, suggest that overtopping is rare. Currently, event berms are vulnerable to wave attack only a few hours per year. However, even with modest sea level rise (similar to 25 cm) or El Nino conditions, exposure increases significantly, and substantial nourishments may be required to maintain current flood protection levels. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Notes:

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DOI:

10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.12.014