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  1. Abstract

    Vulnerability of coastal regions to extreme events motivates an operational coupled inland‐coastal modeling strategy focusing on the coastal transition zone (CTZ), an area between the coast and upland river. To tackle this challenge, we propose a top‐down framework for investigating the contribution of different processes to the hydrodynamics of CTZs with various geometrical shapes, different physical properties, and under several forcing conditions. We further propose a novel method, called tidal vanishing point (TVP), for delineating the extent of CTZs through the upland. We demonstrate the applicability of our framework over the United States East and Gulf coasts. We categorize CTZs in the region into three classes, namely, without estuary (direct river–coast connection), triangular‐, and trapezoidal‐shaped estuary. The results show that although semidiurnal tidal constituents are dominant in most cases, diurnal tidal constituents become more prevalent in the river segment as the discharge increases. Also, decreasing the bed roughness value promotes more significant changes in the results than increasing it by the same value. Additionally, the estuary promotes tidal energy attenuation and consequently decreases the reach of tidal signals through the upland. The proposed framework is generic and extensible to any coastal region.

     
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