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Towards the effective prediction of long-term beach morphology on Caribbean coastlines

Fourth LACCEI International Latin American and Caribbean Conference for Engineering and Technology, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

Villarroel-Lamb, DA

Deborah Villarroel-Lamb




“Breaking Frontiers and Barriers in Engineering: Education, Research and Practice”

Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

long termbeach morphologynumerical modelcoastal environment

Caribbean beaches are regions of major economic investment and possess significant social amenity. These fragile regions are in constant motion under the day-to-day hydrodynamic forcing in the nearshor e zone, and rarely achieve any state of dynamic equil ibrium, with its surrounding environment. Periodically, man intrudes or nature demonstrates h er strength, producing unexpected and sometimes disastrous effects in these coastal areas. Hurrican es and tsunamis are but two examples of nature’s fu ry that intermittently wreak havoc on Caribbean coastl ines. An additional threat, to coastlines around th e world, is the imminent sea level changes influenced somewhat by man’s actions. Furthermore, man has had a direct impact on the coastal region through t he absolute desire to drive development and derive economic benefits. In the past, little attention was paid to either th e impact of man on the coastal environment, or the impact of the coastal environment on man. However, the inc reasing population and investments in coastal regions, over the last few decades, have resulted i n a major impetus in coastal research around the wo rld. The Caribbean region must invest heavily in the pre servation of its beaches, and one such method is through the development of predictive models. These stochastically-based numerical models will provide a basis for making sound decisions for future devel opments and planning activities. However, to achiev e this aim, supporting research must proceed througho ut the region, in tandem, with any model development.


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