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Estimating Changes in Near-Shore Bathymetry with Subaerial Surveys

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  • 1 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California
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Abstract

Surveys of the subaerial beach (e.g., landward of approximately the MSL depth contour) are widely used to evaluate temporal changes in sand levels over large alongshore reaches. Here, seasonal beach face volume changes based on full bathymetry beach profiles (to ~8 m in depth) are compared with estimates based on the subaerial section of the profile. The profiles span 15 years and 75 km of Southern California shoreline, where seasonal vertical fluctuations in near-shore sand levels of a few meters are common. In years with relatively low winter wave energy, most erosion occurs above the MSL contour, and subaerial surveys capture as much as 0.8 of the total (relatively small) seasonal beach face volume change. In response to more energetic winter waves, beach face erosion increases and occurs as deep as 3 m below MSL, and subaerial surveys capture as little as 0.2 of the total beach face volume change. Patchy, erosion-resistant rock and cobble layers contribute to alongshore variation of the subaerial fraction of beach face volume change.

Corresponding author address: André Doria, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093. E-mail: addoria@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Surveys of the subaerial beach (e.g., landward of approximately the MSL depth contour) are widely used to evaluate temporal changes in sand levels over large alongshore reaches. Here, seasonal beach face volume changes based on full bathymetry beach profiles (to ~8 m in depth) are compared with estimates based on the subaerial section of the profile. The profiles span 15 years and 75 km of Southern California shoreline, where seasonal vertical fluctuations in near-shore sand levels of a few meters are common. In years with relatively low winter wave energy, most erosion occurs above the MSL contour, and subaerial surveys capture as much as 0.8 of the total (relatively small) seasonal beach face volume change. In response to more energetic winter waves, beach face erosion increases and occurs as deep as 3 m below MSL, and subaerial surveys capture as little as 0.2 of the total beach face volume change. Patchy, erosion-resistant rock and cobble layers contribute to alongshore variation of the subaerial fraction of beach face volume change.

Corresponding author address: André Doria, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093. E-mail: addoria@ucsd.edu
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