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Beach morphodynamics in a strong-wind bay: a low energy environment?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology. (paleoglaciologi/paleoglaciology)
2005 (English)In: Marine Geology, Vol. 214, 101-116 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The morphodynamic behaviour of a multibarred beach in a fetch-limited, strong-wind bay (Seaford Beach, SE Australia) was examined during both high and low-energy conditions, and considered in the context of a definition of low-energy provided in the literature. Measurements of nearshore waves, currents, and morphology revealed a bimodal behaviour. Under initial low-energy conditions, the beach exhibited a “low tide terrace” state, and waves and currents were of very low magnitude. During subsequent high-energy conditions, the beach demonstrated dynamic behaviour through the formation of a transitional “transverse bar and rip – rhythmic bar and beach,” and migration of the middle bar, with the morphology remaining in an arrested high-energy state during intervening low-energy periods. Although broadly conforming to the morphodynamic model, the beach did exhibit some distinct characteristics attributable to its fetch-limited location; limited progression through the morphodynamic model, and the importance of wind direction and magnitude in governing morphodynamic behaviour. Furthermore, rip currents were not significant in driving beach change through intermediate states. The presence of infragravity energy in the storm wave spectra; a dissipative, multibarred surf zone; dynamic inner and middle bars; and the attainment of a “transitional transverse bar and rip – rhythmic bar and beach” state during rising wave conditions, underline Seaford Beach as “bimodal”, exhibiting process and morphologic features of both higher and lower-energy beaches. As an example of a beach in a strong-wind bay, Seaford illustrates that not all fetch-limited beaches are low-energy. Furthermore, the presence of infragravity energy in a highly fetch-limited environment indicates that infragravity energy may occur commonly in fetch-limited environments that are subject to periodic strong winds; a process that has remained largely unrecognised.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 214, 101-116 p.
Keyword [en]
Seaford Beach, beach morphology, coastal morphodynamics, fetch-limited environment, wave climate, infragravity
National Category
Physical Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22435OAI: diva2:188962
Available from: 2007-11-20 Created: 2007-11-20 Last updated: 2011-01-12Bibliographically approved

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