The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-3/W8
21 Aug 2019
 | 21 Aug 2019


A.-L. Montreuil, M. Chen, A. Esquerré, R. Houthuys, R. Moelans, and P. Bogaert

Keywords: Topographic monitoring, Coastline, Beach features, Morphology, Belgian coast

Abstract. Sustainable management of the coastal resources requires a better understanding of the processes that drive coastline change. The coastline is a highly dynamic sea-terrestrial interface. It is affected by forcing factors such as water levels, waves, winds, and the highest and most severe changes occur during storm surges. Extreme storms are drivers responsible for rapid and sometimes dramatic changes of the coastline. The consequences of the impacts from these events entail a broad range of social, economic and natural resource considerations from threats to humans, infrastructure and habitats. This study investigates the impact of a severe storm on coastline response on a sandy multi-barred beach at the Belgian coast. Airborne LiDAR surveys acquired pre- and post-storm covering an area larger than 1 km2 were analyzed and reproducible monitoring solutions adapted to assess beach morphological changes were applied. Results indicated that the coast retreated by a maximum of 14.7 m where the embryo dunes in front of the fixed dunes were vanished and the foredune undercut. Storm surge and wave attacks were probably the most energetic there. However, the response of the coastline proxies associated with the mean high water line (MHW) and dunetoe (DuneT) was spatially variable. Based on the extracted beach features, good correlations (r>0.73) were found between coastline, berm and inner intertidal bar morphology, while it was weak with the most seaward bars covered in the surveys. This highlights the role of the upper features on the beach to protect the coastline from storm erosion by reducing wave energy. The findings are of critical importance in improving our knowledge and forecasting of coastline response to storms, and also in its translation into management practices.