Research in Dr. Olabarrieta’s Coastal Hazards Lab focuses on the processes that drive coastal erosion and flooding under extreme storms and longer-term (seasonal to decadal) inlet and estuarine morphodynamics. One of the main goal is to improve numerical models used to predict coastal change, erosion and flooding. Within the Coastal Hazards Lab, undergraduate and graduate students combine advanced numerical modeling, field surveys and remote sensing to analyze the feedbacks between the hydrodynamics, sediments transport and coastal morphology.

“Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity  killed the cat, I say only that the cat died nobly”

Evenings at Whitney Lecture,

Why are the Matanzas Inlet and adjacent coastline so dynamic?



Evolution of the breach generated during Hurricane Matthew (2016): In October 2016, during Hurricane Matthew,  breach opened south of Matanzas Inlet. The breach evolved into a well developed inlet, with a main-channel and an ebb-tidal delta. The inlet was artificially closed the 30th of November 2016. Using aerial imagery acquired with UAVs we are analyzing the response of the inlet to external forces (waves and tides). This project is funded by NSF and USGS.

Meteotsunamis in northeastern Gulf of Mexico: Analysis of 20-year time series of water levels measured by the NOAA tidal gauges in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico has revealed that meteotsunamis are ubiquitous in this region. They can be triggered by winter and summer extra-tropical storms and by tropical cyclones. As an example, in this figure we can see the atmospheric radar reflectivity mosaics obtained from NOAA during Hurricane Hermine (2016). The squalls associated with the hurricane produced meteotsunamis that were measured in Naples and Clearwater Beach.


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