The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Assessment of Hurricane-Induced Coastal Erosion Hazards compares measurements of beach morphology with storm-induced total water levels to produce forecasts of coastal change for storms impacting the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastlines of the United States. The wave-induced water level component (wave setup and swash) is estimated by using modeled offshore wave height and period and measured beach slope (from dune toe to shoreline) through the empirical parameterization of Stockdon and others (2006). Spatial and temporal variability in beach slope leads to corresponding variability in predicted wave setup and swash. For instance, seasonal and storm-induced changes in beach slope can lead to differences on the order of 1 meter (m) in wave-induced water level elevation, making accurate specification of this parameter and its associated uncertainty essential to skillful forecasts of coastal change. A method for calculating spatially and temporally averaged beach slopes is presented here along with a method for determining total uncertainty for each 200-m alongshore section of coastline.
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