Hydrographic and morphologic processes at Falsterbo peninsula - Present conditions and future scenarios

Sten Blomgren

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Falsterbo Peninsula in the south-west corner of Sweden is low-lying and built up of unconsolidated sand. Vulnerability to high water levels and wave action is of concern for the 10,000 residents of the peninsula, especially in consideration of global warming as enhanced inundation and coastal erosion problems may ensue. Rational counteractions of such problems are possible only through sufficient knowledge of local coastal processes. Equally important are planning and ability to identify threatened areas. This thesis addresses these issues from the present time until 2050. It is, in a sense, pioneering as it draws together results from several fields: coastal morphology/dynamics, wave modeling, geostatistics, geohydrology, and coastal protection strategies.

It is found that the annual-high water level around the peninsula increases by 5 mm per year and statistically will exceed +1.5 m in relation to present mean sea level every 2 years by 2050. According to a digital elevation model (DEM) developed for the study, such exceedence will result in inundation for some 20% of the westerly urban areas. Extreme water levels are not directly related to local strong winds, but arise from regional hydrographic and meteorological effects. Hence, extreme waves and water levels are unlikely to occur concurrently.

The exceptional sensitivity of the local coastal environment is confirmed by that human activity has contributed to the rapid growth of the three most distinct features along the peninsula coast.

Sediment supplies are primarily from the east, and potentially the south-west and the incident waves are typically erosive in nature.

Of the anticipated mean sea-level rise of 0.20 m and potential shift in precipitation/evapotranspiration rates until 2050, the former is believed to have greater impact on the unconfined groundwater-table position. An important finding is that a limited sand-layer thickness largely governs the groundwater-flooding liability of a given region.

Vegetated earth dams and beach nourishment are the most viable solutions for potential flooding and erosion problems. They can be integrated into the unique landscape and precious coastal areas with minor aesthetic impacts. In addition, the moderate wave climate means that long time intervals can elapse between renourishments.

Furthermore, the wave climates off the south and east coasts of the Baltic Sea are analyzed with the numerical model WAVAD under the BASYS-project (EC-MAST III). Quantitative wave-climate knowledge is paramount to the prime objective of BASYS; to estimate the fluxes of nutrients and matter from coastal areas to deeper basins of the Baltic Sea. Wave climates over 19 years are derived at four locations along the south and east coasts of the Baltic Sea. The mean significant wave height is found to increase northward, primarily due to increased fetch lengths. In addition, theoretical distributions are used to determine what wave heights can be expected to occur at 1, 10, and 50-year intervals.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Division of Water Resources Engineering
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1999 Jun 4
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 1999-06-04
Time: 10:15
Place: V-building, lecture room V:C

External reviewer(s)

Name: Hsu, John R.C.
Title: Dr
Affiliation: The University of Western Australia


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Water Engineering


  • Hydrogeology
  • Wave climate
  • Unconfined aquifer
  • Shore protection
  • Sea-level rise
  • Numerical modeling
  • Kriging
  • Groins
  • Flooding
  • Greenhouse effect
  • Digital elevation model
  • Beach erosion
  • Coastal morphology
  • geographical and geological engineering
  • Hydrogeologi
  • teknisk geologi
  • teknisk geografi
  • Geophysics
  • physical oceanography
  • meteorology
  • Geofysik
  • fysisk oceanografi
  • meteorologi


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