Impacts of storm chronology on the morphological changes of the Formby beach and dune system, UK
- 1Energy and Environment Research Group, College of Engineering, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK
- 2National Oceanographic Centre, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool, L3 5DA, UK
- 3Energy and Environment Research Group, College of Engineering, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP, UK
Abstract. Impacts of storm chronology within a storm cluster on beach/dune erosion are investigated by applying the state-of-the-art numerical model XBeach to the Sefton coast, northwest England. Six temporal storm clusters of different storm chronologies were formulated using three storms observed during the 2013/2014 winter. The storm power values of these three events nearly halve from the first to second event and from the second to third event. Cross-shore profile evolution was simulated in response to the tide, surge and wave forcing during these storms. The model was first calibrated against the available post-storm survey profiles. Cumulative impacts of beach/dune erosion during each storm cluster were simulated by using the post-storm profile of an event as the pre-storm profile for each subsequent event. For the largest event the water levels caused noticeable retreat of the dune toe due to the high water elevation. For the other events the greatest evolution occurs over the bar formations (erosion) and within the corresponding troughs (deposition) of the upper-beach profile. The sequence of events impacting the size of this ridge–runnel feature is important as it consequently changes the resilience of the system to the most extreme event that causes dune retreat. The highest erosion during each single storm event was always observed when that storm initialised the storm cluster. The most severe storm always resulted in the most erosion during each cluster, no matter when it occurred within the chronology, although the erosion volume due to this storm was reduced when it was not the primary event. The greatest cumulative cluster erosion occurred with increasing storm severity; however, the variability in cumulative cluster impact over a beach/dune cross section due to storm chronology is minimal. Initial storm impact can act to enhance or reduce the system resilience to subsequent impact, but overall the cumulative impact is controlled by the magnitude and number of the storms. This model application provides inter-survey information about morphological response to repeated storm impact. This will inform local managers of the potential beach response and dune vulnerability to variable storm configurations.