Coupling of Inlet-Scale Erosion and Region-Scale Flooding Predictions

The goals of this project are to better understand the storm-induced erosion of barrier islands, and to develop ways to represent that erosion in predictive models on large domains. The critical objectives will be: (1) Develop a high-resolution hindcast of inlet creation in a barrier island system, (2) Explore the sensitivity of erosion predictions to the quality of input data, and (3) Implement a two-way coupling of small-scale erosion to larger-scale flooding. As a study area, we will consider the erosion of Hatteras Island during Hurricane Isabel (2003) and the creation of the so-called Isabel Inlet. The model will be validated with aerial surveys of island topography, collected immediately before and after the storm. We will quantify the model’s ability to predict the inlet creation given coarse inputs, and identify the necessary resolution to include this process in larger-domain models. The evolving ground surface will be used to update topography in a region-scale flooding model, to examine how flow through the Isabel Inlet affected the back side of the island.

JC Dietrich. “Coupling of Inlet-Scale Erosion and Region-Scale Flooding Predictions.” U.S. Coastal Research Program, Storm Processes and Impacts Workshop, Technology Challenge, 2018/09/23 to 2019/09/22, $59,950 (Dietrich: $59,950).