The development of effective coastal adaptation strategies and protection schemes is a major challenge for coastal zone managers and engineers, not only because the coastal zone is the most populated and developed land zone in the world, but also due to projected climate change impacts. A priori knowledge of the so called depth of closure (DoC) is, more often than not, a pre-requisite to understand and model coastal morphological response to wave forcing, which in turn enables the design of appropriate coastal adaption/protection measures. In the absence of long term measurements of coastal profile data, the DoC is often computed using Hallermeier’s formulations or derivatives thereof, for applications around the world. However, there are two major unresolved issues associated with computing the DoC in this way: the accuracy of the wave data required for reliable DoC computations, and the generic applicability of the coefficients used in DoC equations. This study exploits the availability of DoCs derived from multiple measurements of coastal profiles and wave data along the Japanese coast together with wave reanalysis products to evaluate the validity of DoC calculation approaches. Results show that the accuracy of computed DoC values determined using wave reanalysis data is limited, particularly when the spatial resolution of the wave reanalysis data is lower. Furthermore, coefficients of DoC equations proposed in previous and present studies appear to be location specific and points toward the need for a concerted worldwide meta-analysis that compares observed and derived DoC in order to derive a globally applicable formulation for DoC computations.
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