COASTAL HAZARDS @ VIRGINIA TECH
The Role of Shoreline and Bottom Type Dynamics in Understanding Barrier Island Vulnerability and Resiliency
Funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Barrier islands serve as a buffer between the open coast and inland regions, thereby providing protection against coastal storms and creating lower-energy environments for ecosystem growth. By their nature, barrier islands are dynamic systems. On the open coast, large waves and changes in water level work to change the nearshore and onshore topography and shoreline position. On the bay, or sound, side, tidal flows and smaller waves dominate sediment erosion and deposition. Under extreme conditions, barrier islands may be overwashed or breached, where sediments are either carried from the ocean into the bay or from the bay to the ocean, depending on breaching mechanisms. Understanding barrier island dynamics, namely morphological evolution, flow interaction with the barrier island, and flow exchange between the ocean and bay as it relates to both inland flooding and tidal exchange, are critically important for improving design of natural or hybrid storm damage reduction infrastructure while promoting healthy ecosystems. In this project we aim to understand how bottom type, for example sandy seabed and vegetation (wetlands, dune grass, etc.), impact storm-induced sediment erosion and deposition.
Acknowledgements & Credits: This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding sponsor. Background photo courtesy of Sadatsugu Tomizawa (Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
© 2016 Jennifer L. Irish & Robert Weiss. All Rights Reserved.