John P. Ahrens, Edward B. Hands


A simple method to parameterize beach erosion and accretion processes is presented. The parameterization is accomplished by combining important findings from two studies on the initiation of sediment movement, with near-bottom velocities estimated from nonlinear wave theory. This synthesis allows the development of a simple schematization or model based on only two variables that provides considerable insight on cross-shore sediment movement. Once calibrated, the model shows surprising skill (0.94) in predicting erosional or accretionary profile changes on sand beaches and is general enough to predict observed onshore movement of gravel during storms. If linear wave theory is used, the ability to discriminate between erosional and accretionary events declines.


erosion; accrection; erosion parameterization

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