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Open AccessArticle

Coastal Flooding and Erosion under a Changing Climate: Implications at a Low-Lying Coast (Ebro Delta)

1
Laboratori d’Enginyeria Marítima, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech, Jordi Girona 1-3, Mòdul D1, Campus Nord, 08034 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
2
Centre Internacional d’Investigació dels Recursos Costaners (CIIRC), Jordi Girona 1-3, Mòdul D1, Campus Nord, 08034 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
3
Puertos del Estado–Área del Medio Físico, Av Partenón 10, 28033 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(2), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020346
Received: 17 July 2019 / Revised: 30 December 2019 / Accepted: 15 January 2020 / Published: 25 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Climate Change on Coastal Hydrodynamics)
Episodic coastal hazards associated to sea storms are responsible for sudden and intense changes in coastal morphology. Climate change and local anthropogenic activities such as river regulation and urban growth are raising risk levels in coastal hotspots, like low-lying areas of river deltas. This urges to revise present management strategies to guarantee their future sustainability, demanding a detailed diagnostic of the hazard evolution. In this paper, flooding and erosion under current and future conditions have been assessed at local scale at the urban area of Riumar, a touristic enclave placed at the Ebro Delta (Spain). Process-based models have been used to address the interaction between beach morphology and storm waves, as well as the influence of coastal environment complexity. Storm waves have been propagated with SWAN wave model and have provided the forcings for XBeach, a 2DH hydro-morphodynamic model. Results show that future trends in sea level rise and wave forcing produce non-linear variations of the flooded area and the volume of mobilized sediment resulting from marine storms. In particular, the balance between flooding and sediment transport will shift depending on the relative sea level. Wave induced flooding and long-shore sand transport seem to be diminished in the future, whereas static sea level flooding and cross-shore sediment transport are exacerbated. Therefore, the characterization of tipping points in the coastal response can help to develop robust and adaptive plans to manage climate change impact in sandy wave dominated coasts with a low-lying hinterland and a complex shoreline morphology. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; sea level rise; episodic beach erosion; coastal flooding; Ebro Delta; morphodynamics; SWAN; XBeach climate change; sea level rise; episodic beach erosion; coastal flooding; Ebro Delta; morphodynamics; SWAN; XBeach
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Grases, A.; Gracia, V.; García-León, M.; Lin-Ye, J.; Sierra, J.P. Coastal Flooding and Erosion under a Changing Climate: Implications at a Low-Lying Coast (Ebro Delta). Water 2020, 12, 346.

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