Beach Erosion Potential for Severe Nor'easters


  • Kegi Zhang
  • Bruce C. Douglas
  • Stephen P. Leatherman


Coastal storm, erosion potential index, storm surge, nor'easter.


Beach erosion is one of the most significant impacts of coastal storms because beach width is a measure of coastal vulnerability for beachfront houses. Storm tide, wave energy, and duration are three major factors determining storm erosion potential. Several authors have proposed erosion indexes for large storms in terms of storm intensity measured by wind speed or wave energy and duration, but the role of the storm tide has not been fully incorporated into previous analyses. It has been found that the erosion potential of severe nor'easters is more dependent on storm tide than wave energy and duration. Thus, we propose a quantitative index of storm erosion potential that includes storm tide based on hourly water level measurements. Our storm erosion potential index (SEPl) is the sum of the products of hourly storm surge and corresponding storm tide water levels, and it correlates well with observed erosion.