Coastal evolution — the interaction of many geologic and hydrodynamic processes at a multitude of spatiotemporal scales — is notoriously difficult to understand and predict. Nevertheless, reliable, quantitative predictions of long-term coastal evolution on decadal to centennial timescales are increasingly sought for adaptation planning in anticipation of climate change and sea-level rise.
Working with the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) team at the U.S. Geological Survey, I developed a long-term shoreline change model called CoSMoS-COAST(Coastal One-line Assimilated Simulation Tool). The model integrates longshore and cross-shore sediment transport processes by waves and sea-level rise to predict shoreline change on a variety of timescales. The model uses an extended Kalman filter data-assimilation technique to auto-tune model parameters and improve confidence in long-range shoreline predictions. The model was applied to predict shoreline change by 2100 on 500 km of coastline in Southern California. With the CoSMoS team, I am looking to extend the analysis to Central and Northern California, and other coastal settings worldwide.
Photo of Bridlington, England by my friend and colleague Pat Limber