Operational forecasts of wave-driven water levels and coastal hazards for US Gulf and Atlantic coasts

Communications Earth & Environment
By: , and 



Predictions of total water levels, the elevation of combined tides, surge, and wave runup at the shoreline, are necessary to provide guidance on potential coastal erosion and flooding. Despite the importance of early warning systems for these hazards, existing real-time meteorological and oceanographic forecast systems at regional and national scales, until now, have lacked estimates of runup necessary to predict wave-driven overwash and erosion. To address this need, we present an approach that includes wave runup in an operational, national-scale modeling system. Using this system, we quantify the contribution of waves to potential dune erosion events along 4,700 km of U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico sandy coastlines for a one-year period. Dune erosion events were predicted to occur at over 80% of coastal locations, where waves dominated shoreline total water levels, representing 73% of the signal. This shows that models that neglect the wave component underestimate the hazard. This new, national-scale operational modeling system provides communities with timely, local-scale (0.5 km resolution) coastal hazard warnings for all wave conditions, allowing for rapid decision-making related to safety and emergency management. The modeling system also enables continued research into wave-driven processes at a broad range of coastal areas.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Operational forecasts of wave-driven water levels and coastal hazards for US Gulf and Atlantic coasts
Series title Communications Earth & Environment
DOI 10.1038/s43247-023-00817-2
Volume 4
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 169, 8 p.
Country United States
Other Geospatial Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico
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