Optimal index related to the shoreline dynamics during a storm: the case of Jesolo beach
Abstract. The paper presents an application of shoreline monitoring aimed at understanding the response of a beach to single storms and at identifying its typical behaviour, in order to be able to predict shoreline changes and to properly plan the defence of the shore zone. On the study area, in Jesolo beach (northern Adriatic Sea, Italy), a video monitoring station and an acoustic wave and current profiler were installed in spring 2013, recording, respectively, images and hydrodynamic data. The site lacks previous detailed hydrodynamic and morphodynamic data.
Variations in the shoreline were quantified in combination with available near-shore wave conditions, making it possible to analyse the relationship between the shoreline displacement and the wave features. Results denote characteristic patterns of beach response to storm events, and highlight the importance of improving beach protection in this zone, notwithstanding the many interventions experimented in the last decades. A total of 31 independent storm events were selected during the period October 2013–October 2014, and for each of them synthetic indexes based on storm duration, energy and maximum wave height were developed and estimated. It was found that the net shoreline displacements during a storm are well correlated with the total wave energy associated to the considered storm by an empirical power law equation. A sub-selection of storms in the presence of an artificial dune protecting the beach (in the winter season) was examined in detail, allowing to conclude that the adoption of this coastal defence strategy in the study area can reduce shoreline retreat during a storm. This type of intervention can sometimes contribute to prolonging overall stability not only in the replenished zone but also in downdrift areas.
The implemented methodology, which confirms to be economically attractive if compared to more traditional monitoring systems, proves to be a valuable system to monitor beach erosive processes and provide detailed indications on how to better plan beach-maintenance activities. The presented methodology and the proposed results can therefore be used as a basis for improving the collaboration between coastal scientists and managers to solve beach erosion problems, in locations where data are scattered and sporadic.