The response of headland protected beaches to storm events is complex and strongly site dependent. In this study, we investigated the response of several headland protected beaches in Noosa, Australia to a tropical cyclone event. Pre and post topographical surveys of all beaches were completed using both pole-mounted RTK-GNSS and structure-from-motion (SfM)-derived elevation models from survey-grade drone imagery to assess sediment volume differentials. Coastal imaging was used to assess shoreline development and identify coastal features while a nearshore wave model (SWAN) was used to project waves into the study site from a regional wave buoy. Obliquely orientated swells drive currents along the headland with sediment being eroded from exposed sites and deposited at a protected site. Elevated sea-levels were shown to be a strong force-multiplier for relatively small significant wave heights, with 10,000 m3
of sediment eroded from a 700 m long beach in 36 h. The SWAN model was adequately calibrated for significant wave height, but refraction of swell around the headland was under-represented by an average of 16.48 degrees. This research has coastal management implications for beaches where development restricts natural shoreline retreat and elevated sea states are likely to become more common.
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