Latapy A.; Héquette A.; Nicolle A., and Pouvreau N., 2020. Assessing the influence of changes in shoreface morphology since the 19th century on nearshore hydrodynamics and shoreline evolution in northern France: A modeling approach In: Malvárez, G. and Navas, F. (eds.), Global Coastal Issues of 2020. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 95, pp. 542–547. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
The shoreface off the coast of northern France is characterized by the presence of numerous tidal sand banks, forming linear shore-parallel or slightly oblique massive sand bodies. Digitization of historic hydrographic field sheets from the French Hydrographic Service (Shom) archives enabled to produce Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of the seabed morphology at different dates since the early 19th century. Our analyses of bathymetry changes based on differential DEMs showed significant morphological variations across the shoreface near Calais during the 19th and 20th centuries, which are largely due to changes in nearshore sand bank morphology and position. Sand bank mobility can be partially explained by tidal current asymmetry, inducing an elongation and an alongshore migration of this sand body in the direction of the net residual tidal current. Observed changes in shoreface and nearshore morphology attempt to be related with possible variations in hydrodynamics, this paper presenting the results obtained on tidal currents. TELEMAC-2D model was used to simulate 2D velocity field and water depth during a spring and neap tidal cycle over bathymetry grids based on historical bathymetric soundings. Depending on the bathymetric setting, modeling of tidal residual currents revealed notable increases or decreases in residual current velocity during distinct time periods, particularly in nearshore areas, which may lead to seabed erosion where current strengthening is observed through time or conversely to sediment accumulation in areas of decreasing current velocity. These results are consistent with the shoreline changes that occurred during the 20th century, with a correspondence between nearshore areas of decreasing (or increasing) residual current velocity and adjacent shorelines that were affected by seaward progradation (or erosion), suggesting strong links between changes in seabed morphology over the shoreface and shoreline evolution.