Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computer model can help coastal managers with nourishment decisions

Date:
February 24, 2014
Source:
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Summary:
Coastal managers can make better decisions and possibly save millions of dollars through a computer model that helps them to understand the long-term effects of major storms, sea-level rise and beach restoration activities and possibly save millions of dollars. The model uses 154 years of storm and erosion data following tropical storms and hurricanes that hit Santa Rosa Island, off Florida’s Panhandle, and sea-level rise projections to predict beach habitat changes over the next 90 years.

A computer model developed partly by University of Florida helps predict coast erosion and may help save coastal managers millions of dollars. This photo shows the beach at St. Augustine Beach, Fla.
Credit: UF/IFAS file photo

A computer model developed, in part, by University of Florida researchers can help coastal managers better understand the long-term effects of major storms, sea-level rise and beach restoration activities and possibly save millions of dollars.

Related Articles


Researchers used erosion data following tropical storms and hurricanes that hit Santa Rosa Island, off Florida’s Panhandle, and sea-level rise projections to predict beach habitat changes over the next 90 years. But they say their model can be used to inform nourishment decisions at any beach.

Since the first project of its kind in the U.S. at Coney Island, N.Y., in 1922, coastal managers have used beach nourishment – essentially importing sand to replace sediment lost through storms or erosion – to restore damaged beaches, but it is laborious and expensive. Adding to coastal managers’ headaches, the offshore sand used for such ventures is running short.

Florida has allotted $37 million in state money for beach nourishment projects this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and has appropriated almost $105 million over the past five years, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“Moving large amounts of sand onto the beach is costly,” said Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, a UF professor of agricultural and biological engineering and study co-author. “Certainly preserving the beach has important benefits for humans and ecology, but as with any management decision, benefits need to be balanced by cost, especially when sooner or later the beach might be lost to sea-level rise or a major storm. How much is it worth for society to keep the beach longer in a given spot?”

Decision-makers must answer those questions, and the answers won’t be cheap, Muñoz-Carpena said.

UF researchers used their model to find out how long a beach would last under varying conditions, said Greg Kiker, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering and a study co-author.

“Everyone knows that when you nourish a beach, it doesn’t last forever. It gets washed away,” Kiker said. With mean sea level rising, a storm that may not have done as much damage 20 to 40 years ago can do more damage today, he said. “As engineers, we said, ‘OK, what can we do about it?’”

Using the model, coastal managers can assess tradeoffs ─ spending vs. benefits ─ of beach nourishment that will provide the most benefit for vulnerable species, adjacent residential areas and military installations, Muñoz-Carpena said.

The study by members of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences came after the U.S. Department of Defense asked for research to assess the future vulnerability of endangered and protected shorebirds on Panhandle military installations to rising sea levels and major storm surges.

UF researchers used erosion data and post-storm nourishment strategies after hurricanes Ivan and Dennis and Tropical Storm Katrina struck the island, which is part of Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach. The beach suffered severe erosion after each storm.

They also used National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data from 69 major storms over the past 154 years, within about 65 miles of Santa Rosa Island, to construct storm-striking scenarios.

Computer simulations of 4,000 storms suggested that without nourishment, a tropical storm or hurricane and sea level rise would reduce Santa Rosa Island’s beach by 97 percent to 100 percent by the year 2100. But that loss can be cut to 60 percent with a 3-foot beach and to 34 percent with 5 feet in sand nourishment, the study said.

Muñoz-Carpena and his colleagues said they’re not urging coastal managers to pump sand, which generally comes from offshore, onto beaches at any particular frequency. He cautions that the data may be limited by the uncertainty of future tropical storms and sea level projections.

The paper is in this month’s issue of the journal Environmental Modelling and Software.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M.L. Chu, J.A. Guzman, R. Muñoz-Carpena, G.A. Kiker, I. Linkov. A simplified approach for simulating changes in beach habitat due to the combined effects of long-term sea level rise, storm erosion, and nourishment. Environmental Modelling & Software, 2014; 52: 111 DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2013.10.020

Cite This Page:

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Computer model can help coastal managers with nourishment decisions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224123753.htm>.
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (2014, February 24). Computer model can help coastal managers with nourishment decisions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224123753.htm
University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Computer model can help coastal managers with nourishment decisions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224123753.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins