Guisado-Pintado, E., Malvárez, G., Navas, F., Carrero, R., 2014. Storms based morphodynamics from wave energy dissipation for beach characterisation. In: Green, A.N. and Cooper, J.A.G. (eds.), Proceedings 13th International Coastal Symposium (Durban, South Africa), Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 70, pp. 259–265, ISSN 0749-0208.
High energy events are responsible for most significant and visible changes in beach morphology and sediment disposal in a short temporal scale. Storms are associated with damage to the coastal ecosystem and societal services such as severe shoreline erosion, collapse of coastal infrastructures and properties (ports, seawalls). These also affect the effectiveness of coastal defence works such as beach nourishment. In a scenario of climate change, with predictions of sea level rise and an increase in storminess being the most important threats affecting the coastal environments, the understanding of wave climate and the role of high energy events are of key importance. In this paper an index for the characterisation of modal regimes and extreme wave events, based on a 10-year wave hindcast on a 1-hour basis, is developed to characterize wave storms regime of the Andalusia region of southern Spain. Results of the implementation of this method are presented through two case studies; one concerning a low-energy environment located on the Mediterranean coast and other for the higher energy Atlantic coast. Analysis and characterisation of the wave parameters during modal and storm conditions and the study of the spatial distribution of wave energy dissipation patterns, among other hydrodynamic parameter such as wave orbital velocity, are carried out and implemented through a morphodynamic index for nearshore environments. Results show the variability of wave energy dissipation patterns among both study sites, the role of the nearshore topography and the adaptation of the surf zone in wave hydrodynamic processes. Further, the morphodynamic resilience helps in identifying the potential for changing behaviour in energy dissipation and morphological effects derived from high energy events when compared with low-energy modal conditions.