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Coastal morphodynamics: Interaction of Patterns at Different Scales

Total activity: 6
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
167.101,00 €
Start date
End date
coastal processes, modelos numéricos, morfodinámica, morphodynamics, nourishments, numerical models, patrones sedimentarios, procesos costeros, regenraciones, sedimentary patterns, video-monitoring, vídeo monitorización
Sandy coasts are highly dynamic, with strong nonlinear interactions between processes acting at different spatial and temporal scales.
Characteristic scales vary from the slow evolution of large scale morphodynamic patterns (years and kilometers) and surf-zone sand bars
(hours and hundreds of meters), to the fast motion of sediment grains at the intrawave scale (seconds and centimeters). The goal of this
project is to integrate the processes occurring at all these scales to gain basic understanding on the complexity of the coastal system and
improve the predictive capacities of the morphodynamic models.
This project, with a markedly multidisciplinary character and categorized as fundamental, will study how coastal morphodynamic patterns (both at the surf zone and at larger scales) are affected by the interactions with processes at different scales.
There are, to date, no models or physical formulations explaining the interactions that have been observed between different
morphodynamic patterns. Similarly, longshore processes have so far been treated separately from cross-shore processes, while it is
known that cross-shore transport can have an important influence on 3D surf zone patterns. Three of the objectives of the project are
related to investigate such interactions: i) to understand how the presence of large-scale coastal patterns affects the dynamics of surf-zone
morphodynamic patterns, ii) to understand how the surf-zone morphodynamics affects the dynamics of large-scale coastal patterns, and iii)
to understand the interaction between different surf-zone morphodynamic patterns (including cross-shore profile dynamics). Furthermore,
the project will analyze how morphodynamic patterns are affected by slow variations in the offshore forcing (waves and tides) and by
climate change. The last objective is to analyze the role that fast intrawave processes has on the dynamics of coastal morphological
The project combine process-based modelling, observations and theoretical analysis to understand the physical processes involved in the
evolution of the beach morphology. The research team has developed many process-based morphodynamical models that will be
improved during the project to integrate the different scales under study. In general, there is a lack of field observations and in particular
encompassing how spatial morphological patterns emerge, evolve and disappear. In this line, we will study in detail the beach of
Castelldefels, which is already monitored with video cameras by the research group, as well as other locations.
Given the expertise of the research group and the associated international researchers, we expect that this project results in a significant
advance in the development of new approaches, methods and models to better understand the dominant processes and interactions in
coastal morphodynamics. Such knowledge is highly valuable in order to better manage such an important and fragile area.
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Call year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de Fomento de la Investigación Científica y Técnica de Excelencia
Funding subprogram
Subprograma Estatal de Generación de Conocimiento
Funding call
Excelencia: Proyectos I+D
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


  • Falques Serra, Alberto  (scientific coordinator)
  • Caballería Suriñach, Miquel  (researcher)
  • Ribas Prats, Francesca  (researcher)
  • Calvete Manrique, Daniel  (researcher)
  • Guillén Aranda, Jorge  (researcher)
  • Dodd, Nicholas  (researcher)
  • Giovanni, Coco  (researcher)
  • Ruesink, Bernard Gerhard  (researcher)
  • de Swart, Huib E.  (researcher)

Scientific and technological production

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