Simulating decadal cross-shore dynamics at nourished coasts with Crocodile

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Projections of high rates of sea level rise have stimulated proposals for adaptation strategies with increasingly high nourishment volumes along sandy beaches. An underlying assumption is that coastal profiles respond rapidly to nourishments by redistributing sediments towards a (new) equilibrium shape. However, this perception may not be valid when high volumes of nourishment are applied, as the profile shape may then undergo significant deformation. Current state-of-the-art modelling techniques often concentrate on a single spatio-temporal scale, either lacking the necessary temporal horizon or failing to provide the required level of cross-shore detail. This article introduces Crocodile, a diffusion based cross-shore model designed to bridge the gap between short- and long-term nourishment modelling. The model simulates the effects of nourishment strategies on coastal volume, coastline position and beach width over a decadal timeframe. It incorporates different elements which compute cross-shore diffusion, sediment exchange with the dune and longshore sediment losses. To test the model performance, a series of idealized nourishment scenarios are examined, along with three case studies along the Dutch coast with different nourishment strategies over the past few decades. The modelled coastal volume, shoreline position and beach width strongly resemble the observations with only a 12% overestimation in profile volume and 13% underestimation in beach width. Averaged over selected periods of nourishment, trends and trend reversals between different strategies are well replicated with slight overestimation for coastal volume trends by 1.5m3/m/yr(10%), while beach width trends are underestimated by 0.2m/yr (15%). Given that the added nourishment volumes are typically in the order of 100m3/m, these model errors are considered sufficiently low to conclude that Crocodile effectively simulates variations in coastal volume, coastline position and beach width over a decadal timeframe in response to different nourishment strategies. Therefore, Crocodile can facilitate the evaluation of future nourishment strategies.