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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Coastal Evolution Model


Here, we describe the basic architecture of a 3-dimensional coastal evolution model developed under funding from the Kavli Institute. The Coastal Evolution Model (CEM) is a process-based numerical model. It consists of a Littoral Cell Model (LCM) and a Bedrock Cutting Model (BCM), both coupled and operating in varying time and space domains determined by sea level and the coastal boundaries of the littoral cell at that particular sea level and time. At any given sea level and time, the LCM accounts for erosion of uplands by rainfall and the transport of mobile sediment along the coast by waves and currents, while the BCM accounts for the cutting of bedrock by wave action in the absence of a sedimentary cover. During stillstands in sea level, the combined effect of bottom erosion under breaking waves and cliffing by wave runup carves the distinctive notch in the shelf rock known as a wave-cut terrace.

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