Observed changes in hurricane-driven waves explain the dynamics of modern cuspate shorelines

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A comparison between historical and recent shoreline-change rates on the U.S. east coast (based on observed shoreline positions from the last century and a half) shows that emergent, large-scale, cuspate coastline features are changing shape, becoming more asymmetrical. This change in coastline shape arises from spatial shifts in the location of erosion and accretion zones. Using a numerical model of coastline change forced by wave-driven alongshore sediment flux, we show that a previously identified shift in hurricane-generated wave climate explains the patterns of coastline change we observe. Our results reveal a previously unrecognized type of large-scale, chronic landscape response to changing forcing. Though demonstrated here for a cuspate coastline, similar large-scale morphological adjustments are likely to occur along coastlines of varying morphology in the future - as global warming continues, along with the associated intensification of storms. Our approach allows for constraining and predicting future shifts in coastline shape.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Moore, LJ; McNamara, DE; Murray, AB; Brenner, O

Published Date

  • November 28, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 40 / 22

Start / End Page

  • 5867 - 5871

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1944-8007

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0094-8276

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/2013GL057311

Citation Source

  • Scopus