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Storm-induced damages along the Catalan coast (NW Mediterranean) during the period 1958–2008

AuthorsJiménez, José A. ; Sancho-García, Amanda ; Bosom, Eva; Valdemoro, Herminia I.; Guillén, Jorge
Issue Date15-Mar-2012
CitationGeomorphology 143-144: 24–33 (2012)
AbstractThe temporal and spatial patterns of storm-induced damage along the Catalan coast (NW Mediterranean) during the last 50 years have been analyzed to identify main climatic and non-climatic forcings. In the absence of systematic data, a storm-induced damage database compiled from press news has been built, which together with an intensity scale has allowed us to characterize the frequency and intensity of damage. Although no temporal trend has been detected in storm-induced hazards, coastal damage has increased at a rate of about 40% per decade during the last 50 years along the Catalan coast. The main non-climatic factors identified controlling this trend were the urban growth along the coastal fringe and the generalized erosive behavior of beaches. The first one increased values at risk and the second one increased their exposure to storm-induced hazards. In spite of the importance of non-climatic factors to modulate coastal damage, an exponential dependence of damages on storm-induced inundation and erosion was detected. In addition to this, storm-induced geomorphic changes along the Ebro delta coast have also been analyzed. During the period analyzed, “harmful” storms seem to be clustered, with most of the events being present in the late 1990s and especially from 2001 to 2004, resulting in frequent events of intense beach/barrier breaching, massive overwash and flooding. They are mainly expressed in sensitive areas which are subject to long-term erosional processes and comprise a low-lying profile and a narrow beach. This reflects the role of coastal morphology in controlling the intensity of storm-induced hazards along the deltaic coast. Shoreline evolution rates calculated during this period were significantly larger than the previously recorded ones, reflecting a pulsating erosion behavior where large pulses occur during stormy periods and are reduced during post-storm periods. Under the present scenario of maximum coastal development, storm-induced damage has been reported almost every year which could indicate that the present overall beach configuration status along the Catalan coast has reached its limit for protecting the hinterland against storms
Description11 pages, 12 figures, 4 tables
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2011.07.034
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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