A novel coastal landscape model for sandy systems: Community base for interdisciplinary research on coastal evolution

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A common measure to mitigate erosion along sandy beaches is the implementation of sand nourishments. The design and societal acceptance of such a soft mitigation measure demands information on the expected evolution at various time scales ranging from a storm event to multiple decades. Process-based morphodynamic models are increasingly applied to obtain detailed information on temporal behaviour. This paper discusses the process-based morphodynamic model applied to the Sand Motor and how the morphodynamic forecasts have benefitted from the findings of an interdisciplinary research program called NatureCoast. The starting point is the morphodynamic prediction of the Sand Motor made for an Environmental Impact Assessment in 2008 before construction began. After the construction, the model computations were optimized using the first-year field measurements and insights by applying advanced model features. Next, an integrated model was developed that seamlessly predicts the morphodynamics in both the subaqueous and subaerial domains of the Sand Motor. Decadal predictions illustrate the need to be able to resolve the marine and aeolian processes simultaneously in one modelling framework in the case of dynamic coastal landscapes. Finally, a novel morphodynamic acceleration technique was developed that allows for predicting the morphodynamics for multiple decades while incorporating storm events in one simulation. Combining the above-mentioned developments has led to a unique, open-source, process-based landscape tool for (complex) coastal sandy systems, which can stimulate further collaboration between research communities. Moreover, this work demonstrates the evolution from mono- to interdisciplinary forecasts of coastal evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-240
Number of pages18
JournalResearch in Urbanism Series
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Vol. 7 (2021): Building with Nature perspectives: Cross-disciplinary BwN approaches in coastal regions. ISBN 978-94-6366-379-3


  • Decadal forecasts
  • Interdisciplinary research
  • Morphodynamic modelling
  • NatureCoast research program
  • Sand Motor


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