Within the surf zone, the energy expended by wave breaking is strongly influenced by nearshore bathymetry, which is often linked to the character and abundance of local sediments. Based upon a continuous, two year record of Argus Beach Monitoring System (ABMS) data on the north shore of Kachemak Bay in southcentral Alaska, we model the enhancement of wave energy dissipation by the presence of intertidal sand waves. Comparison of model results from simulations in the presence and absence of sand waves illustrates that these ephemeral morphological features can offer significant protection to the backing beach and sea cliff through two mechanisms: (1) by moving the locus of wave breaking seaward and (2) by increasing energy expenditure associated with the turbulence of wave breaking. Copyright ASCE 2006.
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Wave energy dissipation by intertidal sand waves on a mixed-sediment Beach