Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Integrating field research, modeling and remote sensing to quantify morphodynamics in a high-energy coastal setting, ocean beach, San Francisco, California

January 1, 2006

Wave and coastal circulation modeling are combined with multibeam bathymetry, high-resolution beach surveys, cross-shore Personal Water Craft surveys, digital bed sediment camera surveys, and real-time video monitoring to quantify morphological change and nearshore processes at Ocean Beach, San Francisco. Initial SWAN (Simulating Waves Nearshore) wave modeling results show a focusing of wave energy at the location of an erosion hot spot on the southern end of Ocean Beach during prevailing northwest swell conditions. During El Nin??o winters, swell out of the west and southwest dominates the region, and although the wave energy is focused further to the north on Ocean Beach, the oblique wave approach sets up a strong northerly littoral drift, thereby starving the southern end of sediment, leaving it increasingly vulnerable to wave attack when the persistent northwest swell returns. An accurate assessment of the interaction between wave and tidal processes is crucial for evaluating coastal management options in an area that includes the annual dredging and disposal of ship channel sediment and an erosion hot spot that is posing a threat to local infrastructure. Copyright ASCE 2006.