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Wave overtopping at near-vertical seawalls: Influence of foreshore evolution during storms

Briganti, Riccardo; Musumeci, Rosaria Ester; van der Meerc, Jentsje; Romanoe, Alessandro; Stancanelli, Laura Maria; Kudella, Matthias; Akbar, Rizki; Mukhdiar, Ryard; Altomare, Corrado; Suzuki, Tomohiro; De Girolamo, Paolo; Besio, Giovanni; Dodd, Nicholas; Zhun, Fangfang; Schimmels, Stefan

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Rosaria Ester Musumeci

Jentsje van der Meerc

Alessandro Romanoe

Laura Maria Stancanelli

Matthias Kudella

Rizki Akbar

Ryard Mukhdiar

Corrado Altomare

Tomohiro Suzuki

Paolo De Girolamo

Giovanni Besio

Professor of Coastal Dynamics

Fangfang Zhun

Stefan Schimmels


This work presents the results of an investigation on how wave overtopping at a near-vertical seawall at the back of a sandy foreshore is influenced by sequences of erosive storms. The experiments were carried out in the Large Wave Flume (GWK) at Leibniz University, Hannover (Germany). The tested layout consisted of a near-vertical 10/1 seawall and a sandy foreshore with an initial 1/15 slope. Three sequences of idealised erosive storms were simulated. Within each storm both the incident wave conditions and still water level were varied in time to represent high and low tide conditions. Each sequence started from a 1/15 configuration and the beach was not restored in between storms. The measurements included waves, beach profile, wave overtopping volumes. The profile of the beach was measured after each sea state tested. Wave overtopping at each stage of the tested storms was significantly influenced by bed changes. This was linked to the measured evolution of the beach. Measurements showed that a barred profile developed quickly at the start of each sequence, and scour developed at the toe of the structure during high water level conditions, while accretion or partial backfilling developed during low water level conditions. Due to these processes, the position of a sea state in the tested sequence is shown to be an important factor in determining the wave overtopping volume. Remarkably, when a weaker idealised storm followed a more energetic one, nearly the same level of overtopping was recorded. This is explained by the foreshore erosion, leading to increased water depths and wave heights at the toe of the structure. This finding allows to quantify and to explain the variability of wave overtopping in storms following one another at intervals shorter than the recovery time of the foreshore.


Briganti, R., Musumeci, R. E., van der Meerc, J., Romanoe, A., Stancanelli, L. M., Kudella, M., …Schimmels, S. (2022). Wave overtopping at near-vertical seawalls: Influence of foreshore evolution during storms. Ocean Engineering, 261, Article 112024.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 14, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 12, 2022
Publication Date Oct 1, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 13, 2023
Journal Ocean Engineering
Print ISSN 0029-8018
Publisher Elsevier BV
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 261
Article Number 112024
Keywords Ocean Engineering; Environmental Engineering
Public URL
Publisher URL


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