Review of Nearshore Morphologic Prediction

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Nathaniel G Plant, Soupy Dalyander and Joseph Long, U.S Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Science Center, Saint Petersburg, FL, United States
The evolution of the world’s erodible coastlines will determine the balance between the benefits and costs associated with human and ecological utilization of shores, beaches, dunes, barrier islands, wetlands, and estuaries. So, we would like to predict coastal evolution to guide management and planning of human and ecological response to coastal changes. After decades of research investment in data collection, theoretical and statistical analysis, and model development we have a number of empirical, statistical, and deterministic models that can predict the evolution of the shoreline, beaches, dunes, and wetlands over time scales of hours to decades, and even predict the evolution of geologic strata over the course of millennia. Comparisons of predictions to data have demonstrated that these models can have meaningful predictive skill. But these comparisons also highlight the deficiencies in fundamental understanding, formulations, or data that are responsible for prediction errors and uncertainty. Here, we review a subset of predictive models of the nearshore to illustrate tradeoffs in complexity, predictive skill, and sensitivity to input data and parameterization errors. We identify where future improvement in prediction skill will result from improved theoretical understanding, and data collection, and model-data assimilation.