Modelling the Effect of ‘Roller Dynamics’ on Storm Erosion: Sylt, North Sea

Coastal storm erosion can lead to episodic morphological changes and hinterland flooding that requires sustainable management. An accurate estimation of storm erosion can determine the success of hazard mitigation strategies. Two morphological models, Delft3D and XBeach, were applied separately to a stormy period with “Roller” and “No Roller” wave dynamics activated, to estimate erosion of the beach and dune system on the Sylt island. This is the first numerical impact assessment of roller dynamics on coastal erosion using the two models. The choice of model had more impact on the hydrodynamic and morphological predictions than the option to include or omit roller dynamics. Agreement between measured and simulated waves was higher in Delft3D (R2 > 0.90 and RMSE < 0.15 m) than XBeach. Storm erosion in both models had the highest sensitivity to the roller parameter Beta. Both models predicted a similar storm erosion pattern along the coast, albeit different magnitudes. It is found that Delft3D cannot produce comparable storm erosion to XBeach, when the roller dynamics and avalanching are considered. Delft3D is less sensitive to the roller dynamics than XBeach. Including roller dynamics in Delft3D increased storm erosion up to 31% and in XBeach decreased the erosion down to 58% in the nearshore area, while the erosion in the dune area increased up to 13% in Deflt3D and up to 97% in XBeach. Both models are skilled in simulating storm impact. For the simulation of a storm period with intermittent calm periods, it is suggested that applying a time-varying parameter setting for wave dynamics and sediment transport to capture storm erosion and post-storm beach recovery processes could improve results. Such a modelling approach may ultimately increase the accuracy of estimating storm erosion to support coastal management activities (e.g., sand nourishment volume).

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