A morphological modeling study to compare different methods of wave climate schematization and evaluate strategies to reduce erosion losses from a beach nourishment project

L. Benedet*, J.P.F. Dobrochinski, D.J.R. Walstra, A.H.F. Klein, R. Ranasinghe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Beach nourishment on open ocean beaches not bounded by headlands or other structures suffers from high rates of lateral losses of fill volume as the nourished shoreline equilibrates with its surroundings. Estimates of lateral losses are essential for beach nourishment design, these predictions have been made in the last decade utilizing empirical formulations, one line models or lately, process-based coastal morphology models. Coastal morphology models are, however, complex and computationally intensive and in order to maintain a balance between model complexities, computational effort and processing capacity, schematization of model input (input reduction) is necessary. This paper is divided into two main sections. In the first section techniques of wave input reduction for morphological models are evaluated with focus on open ocean wave-dominated coasts. Subsequently, the optimized morphological model is applied to evaluate coastal engineering interventions aimed at reducing volume losses from the Delray Beach nourishment project. Wave input reduction is defined here as the process of reducing the full wave climate of a given coastal region to a set of representative wave-wind conditions, ‘running’ a model with these representative wave conditions in sequence for a smaller time period (i.e. a few tide cycles) and multiplying its effect on the morphology by a Morfac value, that is related to the frequency of occurrence of that wave condition in nature, or its weight in the overall wave climate. Five different techniques of wave input reduction were tested. Of all the methods of wave climate schematization tested the methods defined as ‘Energy Flux Method’ and ‘Opti Method’ showed best results in terms of representing accurately the sediment transport patterns of the study area. The tests conducted indicate that a number around 12 representative wave cases was enough to represent an annual wave climate compared to a very detailed wave climate used as benchmark. The optimized model was used to evaluate alternative engineering solutions to reduce volumetric losses from the beach nourishment project. Engineering solutions evaluated included a construction of a breakwater field, backfilling all dredge pits located offshore of the project site, construction of a groin field at the downdrift end of the project, and backfilling the deepest dredge pit. These engineering interventions caused a reduction in beach volume losses within the project limits with varying levels of effect on the downdrift beaches. Reduction of the volume loss from the project site is technically feasible and may be economically feasible pending further economic feasibility evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-86
JournalCoastal engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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