Javier Leon

Dr Javier Leon
Lecturer in Physical Geography, Program Coordinator Environmental Science, University of the Sunshine Coast

Dr Javier Leon is a geographer with broad interests in geomorphology and is particularly interested in the study and management of coastal systems including sandy beaches and coral reefs. He has developed and collaborated in multidisciplinary research projects combining field data, geospatial techniques and modelling in study sites across the Great Barrier Reef and Eastern coast of Australia and Pacific Islands including Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. His aim is to answer questions related to links between morphology, ecology and management in the current changing climate and sea-level rise context.

Presentation Title: Noosa Heads Sediment Bypassing: Implications for Wave Quality and Shoreline Stability
Presentation Day: Tuesday 14th March
Presentation Time: 11.15 - 11.35am

Headlands generally act as obstacles to sediment transport resulting in partial accumulation of sediments on the updrift coast. However, under certain conditions sediment is transported as pulses or “jumps” around headlands. Sediment is transported around Noosa Heads and into the beaches mostly by storms and cyclones (Jones and Stephens 1986). These pulses of sand, or sand waves, determine periods of shoreline stability or erosion (Vieira da Silva, Toldo Jr et al. 2016) and also interact with breaking waves, modifying their surfing quality (Mead and Black 2001). Understanding and quantifying the processes and rates of sediment bypassing, particularly under a changing wave climate (e.g ENSO cycles), are required for accurately assessing shoreline stability and modelling impacts to waves and currents which are essential for informing coastal management (Goodwin, Freeman et al. 2013). Apart from risks to coastal ecosystems, infrastructure and amenity, this is of particular importance around Noosa due to the social, economic and cultural value of beaches and surfing—including improved human-nature interactions. This research project aims to investigate sediment bypassing mechanisms around Noosa Heads and assess their impacts on wave quality and shoreline stability. Field measurements including wave tracking, kayak-based bathymetric surveys and drone-based beach surveys are undertaken prior and after storm events in order to identify the main drivers and quantify the rates of sediment bypassing, assess how surfing wave quality is affected under sediment transport modes and determine the net sediment bypassing under future climate scenarios and implications for shoreline stability and management.