CIMA researchers Juan L. Garzon and Óscar Ferreira, in collaboration with Theocharis Plomaritis from the University of Cadiz, just published an article focused on the ability of numerical models to simulate coastal erosion in exposed and groin-protected steep beaches during extreme oceanic events. The article assesses the sensibility of the numerical model (XBeach) to changing parameters and presents the calibration and validation of the model for two storms at Praia de Faro and Quarteira. Our results demonstrated that after the calibration, the model can successfully reproduce morphological changes during storm events at these two sites. Moreover, it provides recommendations for the implementation of the model on other steep beaches.
Process-based models are suitable tools for reproducing storm-driven erosion. However, their performance has been mainly examined on mild-slope sandy beaches and their use on steep beaches still represents a challenge. Here, open-source process-based model XBeach experiments were combined with topographical measurements collected for two storms (16- and 5-year return period) to obtain a reliable model. The model parameters “facua” (parameterized wave asymmetry and skewness sediment transport component), “bermslope” (upslope transport term for semireflective beaches), and “wetslope” (critical avalanching submerged slope) were utilized for calibration and validation. The 16-year storm simulations on an exposed beach revealed that whether bermslope increased and “facua” must be reduced, and vice versa, to properly simulate erosion. Adding bermslope provided excellent results for these storms when using facua and wetslope values close to the recommended values. In a groin-protected site, XBeach was successfully calibrated and validated for the tested storms using these parameters, although with different values. These experiments demonstrated that the appropriate use of these parameters can satisfactorily simulate morphological changes on steep beaches for different hydrodynamic conditions and coastal settings (exposed and groin protected).