DEVELOPMENT OF A STORM EROSION CLIMATOLOGY FOR THE NEW JERSEY COAST, US
AbstractIn this study, the Storm Erosion Index (SEI), developed by Miller and Livermont (2008), is used to reevaluate storms that have impacted New Jersey over the past several decades based on their erosion potential. This index considers all three drivers of coastal erosion including wave height, water level, and storm duration and has been shown to more closely correlated to observed erosion than more traditional indices (Miller and Livermont 2008). Here, storms are assessed at thirteen shoreline segments defined along the Atlantic coast of New Jersey. When reevaluated with SEI, the top three storms across all shoreline segments are the December 1992 nor'easter, the Veteran's Day Storm in November 2009, and Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. In general, the December 1992 nor'easter and Hurricane Sandy are more highly ranked in the northern half of the state with Hurricane Sandy having a maximum return period of 38 years. The Veteran's Day Storm on the other hand is more highly ranked in the southern half of the state having a maximum return period of 42 years. A closer look at these three storms illustrates the importance of each of the three drivers of coastal erosion in determining erosion potential. A particular emphasis is placed on storm duration which explains why the Veteran's Day Storm (td = ~90 hours) outranks Hurricane Sandy (td = ~60 hours) in the southern portion of the state. The assessment performed in this study produces a record of historical storms ranked by SEI that future storms can be compared to. This allows for an understanding of the erosion potential of future storms in the context of what has occurred previously.
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