Towards assessing the coastal zone as an integrated system: the development of a coupled nearshore and aeolian dune model
Coastal environments are complex because of the interplay between aeolian and nearshore processes. Waves, currents, tides, and winds drive significant short term (<weekly) changes to coastal landforms which augment longer term (> annual) geomorphic trends. Great strides have been made in recent years regarding our ability to model coastal geomorphic change in this range of societally relevant time scales. However, a great disparity exists in modeling coastal evolution because subaqueous and subaerial processes are typically assessed completely independent of one another. By neglecting the co-evolution of subtidal and supratidal regions within our current framework, we are precluded from fully capturing non-linear dynamics of these complex systems. This has implications for predicting coastal change during both fair weather and storm conditions, hindering our ability to answer important scientific questions related to coastal vulnerability and beach building.
Recognizing these historic limitations, here we present the outline for a coupled subaqueous (XBeach) and subaerial (Coastal Dune Model) morphodynamic modeling system that is in active development with the goal of exploring coastal co-evolution on daily to decadal timescales. Furthermore we present recently collected datasets of beach and dune morphology in the Pacific Northwest US that will be used to validate trends observed within the coupled model platform.