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Processes controlling coastal erosion along Cape Cod Bay, MA

April 15, 2023

Cape Cod Bay, MA, is a semi-enclosed embayment in the northeastern United States, open on the north to the Gulf of Maine. The coastline experiences impacts typically from strong Nor’easter storms that occur in the late fall or winter months, with some sections of this coastline being affected more severely than others. We investigate the processes that cause spatial variability in storm impacts by using geophysical surveys, shoreline-change analysis, and numerical modeling. We simulated the Gulf of Maine and Cape Cod Bay from Jan–April, 2021, using the COAWST modeling system, including ocean, wave, infragravity wave, and sediment transport models. Results identify bay-scale circulation of alongshore sediment fluxes and convergences at regional shoals. Nearshore modeling also revealed zones of increased wave heights that correlate with regions of increased erosion and coastal angle orientation. Modeled and computed shoreline-change have some correlation but the model does not capture all the variability. This overall approach can potentially be used for other coastal locations to identify regions of storm impacts and to manage coastal resources.

Publication Year 2023
Title Processes controlling coastal erosion along Cape Cod Bay, MA
DOI 10.1142/9789811275135_0171
Authors John C. Warner, Laura L. Brothers, Emily A. Himmelstoss, Christopher R. Sherwood, Alfredo Aretxabaleta, David S. Foster, Amy S. Farris
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70242991
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center