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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 12 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 2543-2557, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 01 Dec 2016

Research article | 01 Dec 2016

Contribution of storms to shoreline changes in mesotidal dissipative beaches: case study in the Gulf of Cádiz (SW Spain)

María Puig1, Laura Del Río1, Theocharis A. Plomaritis1,2, and Javier Benavente1 María Puig et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, CASEM, University of Cádiz, Av. República Saharaui s/n Puerto Real, Cádiz, 11510, Spain
  • 2CIMA, University of Algarve, Campus of Gambelas, Faro, 8005-135, Portugal

Abstract. In this study an analysis of storminess and rates of shoreline change is performed and discussed jointly in four geomorphological units of the Gulf of Cádiz (SW Spain) for the period of 1956–2010. For this purpose, storm events are identified based on the following characteristics: wave height above 2.5m, a minimum duration of 12h and events with calm periods of less than 24h were considered as a single event. Subsequently, energy parameters are determined in order to characterize storm-induced impacts. Conversely, geographic information system (GIS) tools are used to measure shoreline changes in aerial photographs and orthophotographs of each site, selecting the high water line as shoreline proxy. Each geomorphological unit is divided into different behavioural patterns according to recorded coastal changes, so that each one shows a particular behaviour.

In general the variability of shoreline changes that is explained by storms and the relation between storm parameters and coastal changes present better results in exposed areas (Cádiz and Vistahermosa) than in sheltered areas (Valdelagrana spit barrier) because the former are more sensitive to storm impacts. On the contrary, in areas where there is no relation between coastal changes and storm parameters (Valdelagrana and Sancti Petri sand spit), it is suggested that anthropogenic factors are the main forcing agents determining shoreline behaviour. However, in these areas the storminess also modulates coastline recession by increasing erosion when the number of storms is high.

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Short summary
This work evaluates shoreline response to storm impacts at four beaches in SW Spain by comparing medium- and short-term rates of shoreline change and storm parameters. Results show that shoreline behaviour is mainly determined by both anthropogenic and geological factors. Moreover, a correlation is found between storm parameters and shoreline changes in exposed areas with a low degree of human intervention. This work provides a useful contribution to the prediction of coastal variations.
This work evaluates shoreline response to storm impacts at four beaches in SW Spain by comparing...