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Daily to decadal variability of beach morphology at NASA-Kennedy Space Center: Storm influences across timescales

May 31, 2019

Shoreline variability over timescales ranging from days to decades is examined at NASA-Kennedy Space Center on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Three sources of shoreline position data are utilized to complete this analysis: hourly video-image observations, monthly Real Time Kinematic GPS observations, and historical aerial imagery dating back to 1943. We find that shoreline positions tend to respond coherently to monthly variations in wave energy, except during storm-driven shoreline change. A seasonal signal in shoreline behavior is also evident, however this signal becomes indiscernible after a rapid change in morphologic behavior following Hurricane Sandy’s impact in October 2012. Further, the spatial pattern of shoreline change following Sandy’s impact mimics decadal-scale trends, suggesting that response to large storms may be controlling decadal shoreline change behavior at this site.