THE EFFECT OF WAVES ON THE PROFILE OF A NATURAL BEACH

Warren C. Thompson, John C. Harlett

Abstract


A 60-day field study was conducted on a selected natural beach in which the beach profile was measured daily and the waves incident upon the profile were recorded continuously. Beach and wave parameters derived from the field data were empirically combined to yield: (a) quantitative relationships between the change in the profile and the-average deepwater wave steepness and wave power over a lunar day (24.8 hours) given the profile at the beginning of the period, (b) equilibrium profiles for different values of wave steepness, (c) an empirical relationship between wave steepness and wave power which agrees well with theory, and (d) rates at which the beach profile approached equilibrium for given initial conditions of non-equilibrium. Using the relationship developed between beach change and wave steepness, hindcasts were made of the day-to-day sand elevation at a selected location near the middle of the profile and were found to agree fairly well with the observed sand level.

Keywords


beach profile; natural beach; wave effects on beach profile

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