Changes in beach shoreline due to sea level rise and waves, W. Mediterranean (scientific article)

Enriquez, A.R., Marcos, M., Alvarez-Ellacuria, A., Orfila, A., Gomis, D. (2017) Changes in beach shoreline due to sea level rise and waves under climate change scenarios: application to the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean), Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 17, 1075-1089

This work assesses the impacts in reshaping coastlines as a result of sea level rise and changes in wave climate. The methodology proposed combines the SWAN and SWASH wave models to resolve the wave processes from deep waters up to the swash zone in two micro-tidal sandy beaches in Mallorca island, western Mediterranean. In a first step, the modelling approach has been validated with observations from wave gauges and from the shoreline inferred from video monitoring stations, showing a good agreement between them. Afterwards, the modelling set-up has been applied to the 21st century sea level and wave projections under two different climate scenarios, representative concentration pathways RCP45 and RCP85. Sea level projections have been retrieved from state-of-the-art regional estimates, while wave projections were obtained from regional climate models. Changes in the shoreline position have been explored under mean and extreme wave conditions. Our results indicate that the studied beaches would suffer a coastal retreat between 7 and up to 50m, equivalent to half of the present-day aerial beach surface, under the climate scenarios considered.

Go to article