Response to a Changing Shoreline

Photo of shoreline.

“It is clear that new approaches to coastal erosion are desperately needed.”
–Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba

Coastal areas in New Jersey and elsewhere face a growing threat of erosion, flooding and other changes from rising sea levels and storm impacts.

Earth and Environmental Studies Professor Jorge Lorenzo-Trueba has received a four-year sub-award from a National Science Foundation grant to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to investigate “Coastal Processes and Human Response to Shoreline Change.”

“It is clear that new approaches to coastal erosion are desperately needed,” says Lorenzo-Trueba. Working with Montclair State graduate students, he is developing integrated geological and economic models to help mitigate coastline changes caused by accelerated rising sea levels.

“These models will simulate historical and risk-averse future adaptations to shoreline change, including the effects of soft, or beach nourishment, and hard, or seawall, responses,” he says.

According to Lorenzo-Trueba, the ideal response would employ a mix of strategies such as beach replenishment or dune construction and the maintenance of seawalls in critical locations.

Developing a modeling framework that is portable to different coastal locations is his team’s first step.

“The next step will be to test and calibrate the model on specific — but as yet undetermined — locations along the New Jersey and Massachusetts coastlines,” he says.