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Integrating geophysical and oceanographic data to assess interannual variability in longshore sediment transport

July 16, 2015

Despite their utility for prediction of coastal behavior and for coastal management, littoral sediment budgets are difficult to quantify over large regions of coastline and over short time scales. In this study, bathymetric change analysis shows differences in the magnitude and spatial location of erosion and accretion over three years; more net accumulation occurred at the littoral end point of the system in the second year (2012-2013) compared to the first (2011-2012). However, the estimated magnitude of longshore transport based on wave characteristics was lower in the second year than for the first year. Similarly, comparisons of total water levels and island elevation over the study period show increased number of overwash hours in the second year, indicating increased cross-shore sediment losses and presumably less sediment transported alongshore. The storm-mediated degradation of the man-made northern portion of the island resulting in increased sub-aqueous sediment availability may explain the observations.