Spatial Variability of Beach Impact from Post-Tropical Cyclone Katia (2011) on Northern Ireland's North Coast
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DepartmentCiencias de la Tierra
SourceWater 2020, 12(5), 1380
In northern Europe, beach erosion, coastal flooding and associated damages to engineering structures are linked to mid-latitude storms that form through cyclogenesis and post-tropical cyclones, when a tropical cyclone moves north from its tropical origin. The present work analyses the hydrodynamic forcing and morphological changes observed at three beaches in the north coast of Northern Ireland (Magilligan, Portrush West's southern and northern sectors, and Whiterocks), prior to, during, and immediately after post-tropical cyclone Katia. Katia was the second major hurricane of the active 2011 Atlantic hurricane season and impacted the British Isles on the 12-13 September 2011. During the Katia event, offshore wave buoys recorded values in excess of 5 m at the peak of the storm on the 13 September, but nearshore significant wave height ranged from 1 to 3 m, reflecting relevant wave energy dissipation across an extensive and shallow continental shelf. This was especially so at Magilligan, where widespread refraction and attenuation led to reduced shore-normal energy fluxes and very minor morphological changes. Morphological changes were restricted to upper beach erosion and flattening of the foreshore. Longshore transport was evident at Portrush West, with the northern sector experiencing erosion while the southern sector accreted, inducing a short-term rotational response in this embayment. In Whiterocks, berm erosion contributed to a general beach flattening and this resulted in an overall accretion due to sediment influx from the updrift western areas. Taking into account that the post-tropical cyclone Katia produced pound 100 m ($157 million, 2011 USD) in damage in the United Kingdom alone, the results of the present study represent a contribution to the general database of post-tropical storm response on Northern European coastlines, informing coastal response prediction and damage mitigation.