Coastal flooding hazard related to storms and coastal evolution in Valdelagrana spit (Cadiz Bay Natural Park, SW Spain)
Mapping of coastal inundation hazard related to storms requires the combination of multiple sources of information regarding meteorological, morphological and dynamic characteristics of both the area at risk and the studied phenomena. Variables such as beach slope, storm wave height or wind speed have traditionally been used, but detailed geomorphological features of the area as well as long-term shoreline evolution trends must also be taken into account in order to achieve more realistic results. This work presents an evaluation of storm flooding hazard in Valdelagrana spit and marshes (SW Spain), considering two types of storm that are characteristic of the area: a modal storm with 1 year of recurrence interval (maximum wave height of 3.3 m), and an extreme storm with 6-10 years of recurrence interval (maximum wave height of 10.6 m), both approaching the coast perpendicularly. After calculating theoretical storm surge elevation, a digital terrain model was made by adjusting topographic data to field work and detailed geomorphological analysis. A model of flooding extent was subsequently developed for each storm type, and then corrected according to the rates of shoreline change in the last decades, which were assessed by means of aerial photographs taking the dune toe as shoreline indicator. Results show that long-term coastline trend represents an important factor in the prediction of flooding extent, since shoreline retreat causes the deterioration of natural coastal defences as dune ridges, thus increasing coastal exposure to high-energy waves. This way, it has been stated that the lack of sedimentary supply plays an important role in spatial variability of inundation extent in Valdelagrana spit. Finally, a hazard map is presented, where calculated coastal retreat rates are employed in order to predict the areas that could be affected by future inundation events.