AbstractLandform analysis has an integral and often understated role in coastal engineering. The strength of a hierarchical approach derives from a capacity to simultaneously consider change at a wider variety of scales and to focus on processes that are characteristic to each scale. A hierarchy of sediment cells and landforms provides potential for refined evaluation of coastal erosion hazard. Decision-making for erosion management, including identification of setbacks or design of coastal defenses, typically considers several future decades. This time scale presents challenges when using numerical modelling to provide forecasts, because of the reliance on often conceptual oceanographic-sediment process relationships and potential for dynamic coastal behavior to diverge from existing trends or historic behavior. Analysis of coastal morphology in a hierarchical approach may provide a basis for (i) refined modelling, (ii) identification of strategic monitoring effort and (iii) improved interpretation of model outcomes for coastal management.
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