Journal metrics

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 2.281 IF 2.281
  • IF 5-year value: 2.693 IF 5-year 2.693
  • CiteScore value: 2.43 CiteScore 2.43
  • SNIP value: 1.193 SNIP 1.193
  • SJR value: 0.965 SJR 0.965
  • IPP value: 2.31 IPP 2.31
  • h5-index value: 40 h5-index 40
  • Scimago H index value: 73 Scimago H index 73
Volume 18, issue 4 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1247-1260, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-1247-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 27 Apr 2018

Research article | 27 Apr 2018

The role of the reef–dune system in coastal protection in Puerto Morelos (Mexico)

Gemma L. Franklin1, Alec Torres-Freyermuth1,2, Gabriela Medellin2,3, María Eugenia Allende-Arandia2,3, and Christian M. Appendini1,2 Gemma L. Franklin et al.
  • 1Laboratorio de Ingeniería y Procesos Costeros, Instituto de Ingeniería, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Sisal, Mexico
  • 2Laboratorio Nacional de Resiliencia Costera, Laboratorios Nacionales CONACYT, Sisal, Mexico
  • 3CONACYT-Laboratorio de Ingeniería y Procesos Costeros, Instituto de Ingeniería, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Sisal, Mexico

Abstract. Reefs and sand dunes are critical morphological features providing natural coastal protection. Reefs dissipate around 90% of the incident wave energy through wave breaking, whereas sand dunes provide the final natural barrier against coastal flooding. The storm impact on coastal areas with these features depends on the relative elevation of the extreme water levels with respect to the sand dune morphology. However, despite the importance of barrier reefs and dunes in coastal protection, poor management practices have degraded these ecosystems, increasing their vulnerability to coastal flooding. The present study aims to theoretically investigate the role of the reef–dune system in coastal protection under current climatic conditions at Puerto Morelos, located in the Mexican Caribbean Sea, using a widely validated nonlinear non-hydrostatic numerical model (SWASH). Wave hindcast information, tidal level, and a measured beach profile of the reef–dune system in Puerto Morelos are employed to estimate extreme runup and the storm impact scale for current and theoretical scenarios. The numerical results show the importance of including the storm surge when predicting extreme water levels and also show that ecosystem degradation has important implications for coastal protection against storms with return periods of less than 10 years. The latter highlights the importance of conservation of the system as a mitigation measure to decrease coastal vulnerability and infrastructure losses in coastal areas in the short to medium term. Furthermore, the results are used to evaluate the applicability of runup parameterisations for beaches to reef environments. Numerical analysis of runup dynamics suggests that runup parameterisations for reef environments can be improved by including the fore reef slope. Therefore, future research to develop runup parameterisations incorporating reef geometry features (e.g. reef crest elevation, reef lagoon width, fore reef slope) is warranted.

Download & links
Publications Copernicus
Download
Short summary
This study looks at the importance of coral reefs and sand dunes in protecting the coast against flooding by storms. Many reefs and dunes are being degraded by human activities, making coastal areas more vulnerable. A computer model is used to look at the effects of reef and dune degradation on coastal flooding in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Results show that the conservation of both the reef and dune is important to protect the coast and decrease infrastructure losses in the short to medium term.
This study looks at the importance of coral reefs and sand dunes in protecting the coast against...
Citation
Share