Zai-Jin You, Ray Laine, David J. Hanslow, Tom Baldock, Daniel Wiecek


The coast of New South Wales (NSW), Australia is about 2000 km long and consists of 721 sandy beaches (68%), rock coastline (32%), and more than 185 estuaries. It is most populated in Australia and one of the NSW greatest assets with significant economic, social and environmental values. The NSW coast has epsodically been ravaged by severe storms together with large ocean waves and high water levels, resulting in severe dune-beach erosion/recession, damaging coastal infrastructure and properties and degrading coastal ecosystems. With potential changes to storm-wave climate and rising sea level, coastal erosion hazards on the NSW coast are likely to worsen in the future. This study was undertaken to collect essential field data on beach-dune profiles and sediment grain-size distributions over more than 200 sandy beaches to assess NSW coastal erosion hazard. For each of the selected beaches, three beach-dune profiles of shore-normal transects at 50m apart were surveyed by RTK-GPS, and three sediment samples only on the first transect line were also colleced from the dune, dry beach/berm and swash zone by using a simple hand grabbing method. A sediment grain size analyzer, Malvern Mastersizer 2000E, was used to obtain sediment grain size distributions. It is found that the 618 sediment samples analysed consist of fine sand (10%), medium sand (82%) and coarse sand (8%), and that the dune sand d50 correlates well with the dry-beach sand d50 and is about 8% smaller, but less well correlates with the swash sand d50 and is about 15% smaller. The beach orientation was estimated from the direction of the shore-normal transect lines and generally ranges from 90o to 150o. The beaches surveyed are found to have erosion problems when they were directly exposed to predominant waves in the south-east direction and also when the dune toe elevations were lower than 3~3.5m (AHD). A conceptual model is also developed to assess likelihood storm erosion of a beach-dune system.


beach profile, transect line, predominant waves, erosion hazard, swash zone, dune toe, sediment, swash, berm

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