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Journal Articles Water Year : 2022

Assessing the Role of Extreme Mediterranean Events on Coastal River Outlet Dynamics


River mouths are highly dynamic environments responding very rapidly to changes in wave energy or river floods. While the morphological response during floods or during marine storm events has been widely documented in the literature, little is known about the mechanisms acting during the co-occurrence of fluvial and marine hazards. This concomitance of river flood and marine storm is quite common in the western Mediterranean Sea, and was the case for the Gloria event, considered to be the most extreme event in recent decades. During this event, monitoring of hydrodynamics and morphological evolution was implemented, making it possible to better understand the impact of concomitant marine storm and fluvial flood during an extreme meteorological event on spit breaching of a small Mediterranean river mouth. Monitoring using a combination of high-resolution hydrodynamic measurements, topographic and bathymetric surveys, and sediment cores was used before, during, and after the storm “Gloria”. The results suggest an amplification of the morphological impact of the events and a different morphogenic response than if each of the events had acted independently on the system. The marine storm, occurring first, weakened the spit and initiated its breaching, which was continued by the extreme fluvial flood, thus leading to the complete destruction of the mouth. The destruction of the spit acted as a sediment source for subaqueous large delta deposition amounting to 50% of the total volume. The contribution of the river, estimated at 30%, was quite low for an exceptional event, showing the importance of locating rainfall in a catchment area controlled by a dam. For this event, extreme morphological evolution was observed, as well as the importance of water levels in the river mouth, which probably increased flood hazards, demonstrating the importance of including the compounding effect of extreme coastal water levels in river flood risk management.
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Dates and versions

hal-03755992 , version 1 (22-08-2022)





Florian Meslard, Yann Balouin, Nicolas Robin, François Bourrin. Assessing the Role of Extreme Mediterranean Events on Coastal River Outlet Dynamics. Water, 2022, 14 (16), pp.2463. ⟨10.3390/w14162463⟩. ⟨hal-03755992⟩
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