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Abstract

Coastal sand dune ecosystems are facing threats and pressures across Europe, but the quantification of the exact impacts is not easy, particularly when natural and anthropic effects are overlapping. In order to tackle this question, during two years sand movement has been measured in pilot dune plots located in the Northern Spanish coast. We aimed at correlating the waves height, wind velocity and tidal range with the temporal changes measured in the beach-dune systems. The role of littoral processes on the sand movement is quantified by fitting different regression models using R, in order to discuss the influence of marine variables, climate change and human activities in the changes identified in coastal sand systems, which also affects Spanish coasts.
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Climatic change-related impacts on coastal areas became an important issue in past decades and nowadays threaten many human settlements and activities. Coastal hazards are linked to flooding and erosion processes associated with sea level rise and the increased strength of hurricanes, cyclones and storms. The main aim of this work is the characterization of coastal storms in Cadiz (SW Spain) and the determination of their recurrence intervals and relationships with several regional cycles. Storm characterization was carried out using the Storm Power Index (Dolan and Davis, 1992) and five classes were obtained, from class I (weak events) to V (extreme events). Storm occurrence probability was 96% for class I (i.e. almost one event per year) to 3% for class V. The return period for class V was 25 years and ranged from 6 to 8 years for classes III and IV storms, e.g. significant and severe events. Classes I and II showed a period of recurrence ranging from 1 to 3 years. Stormy winter seasons were 2009/10 (12 events), 1995/6 and 2002/3 (with 10 events each) and 1993/4 (8 events). Approximately 40% of the change in monthly wave data and storminess indices was related to several teleconnection patterns, the most important drivers of change being the Arctic Oscillation (AO), 21.45%, and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), 19.65%. It is interesting to note that a great number of storms, larger storm duration and higher values of Storm Power Index were only observed when neutral to strong negative NAO and AO phases occurred at the same time (89 storms and 3355 h) and/or when there was an abrupt change of NAO and AO phases, i.e. they moved from a positive to negative phase without passing through a neutral phase. The results obtained in this work have wider applications for ocean and coastal management. It is suggested that methodology used can be easily applied in different areas where wave buoy data are available. In the same way, information obtained with this kind of work constitutes the first step in the development of coastal protection plans to preserve socio-economic activities from the impact of severe storm events.
Article
A sandy beach in the south of Portugal (Faro beach, Ria Formosa) was surveyed from the dune crest seaward to 15 m depth 20 times over a period of 26 months. Wave time-series between surveys were analysed to obtain relationships between wave height and vertical profile variations and to define wave thresholds for important morphological changes. Results show that the active zone of the profile lies between 5 m above and 10·4 m below mean sea level, and that there are clear cross-shore differences in the vertical variability of the profile. Based on the pattern of vertical variability, the profile was divided into four cross-shore sectors: A (berm), 20–80 m from the profile origin; B (sub-tidal terrace), 80–170 m; C (long-shore bar), 170–360 m; and D, 360–700 m. The relationship between the modulus of the maximum vertical change in each sector and the 99th percentile of significant wave height between surveys was always significant. Calculated thresholds for significant wave height generating important morphological changes were 2·3 m in sector A, 3·2 m in sectors B and C, and 4·1 m in sector D. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.