Decoupling processes and scales of shoreline morphodynamics

Marine Geology
By: , and 



Behavior of coastal systems on time scales ranging from single storm events to years and decades is controlled by both small-scale sediment transport processes and large-scale geologic, oceanographic, and morphologic processes. Improved understanding of coastal behavior at multiple time scales is required for refining models that predict potential erosion hazards and for coastal management planning and decision-making. Here we investigate the primary controls on shoreline response along a geologically-variable barrier island on time scales resolving extreme storms and decadal variations over a period of nearly one century. An empirical orthogonal function analysis is applied to a time series of shoreline positions at Fire Island, NY to identify patterns of shoreline variance along the length of the island. We establish that there are separable patterns of shoreline behavior that represent response to oceanographic forcing as well as patterns that are not explained by this forcing. The dominant shoreline behavior occurs over large length scales in the form of alternating episodes of shoreline retreat and advance, presumably in response to storms cycles. Two secondary responses include long-term response that is correlated to known geologic variations of the island and the other reflects geomorphic patterns with medium length scale. Our study also includes the response to Hurricane Sandy and a period of post-storm recovery. It was expected that the impacts from Hurricane Sandy would disrupt long-term trends and spatial patterns. We found that the response to Sandy at Fire Island is not notable or distinguishable from several other large storms of the prior decade.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Decoupling processes and scales of shoreline morphodynamics
Series title Marine Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.margeo.2016.08.008
Volume 381
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 12 p.
First page 42
Last page 53
Country United States
State New York
Other Geospatial Fire Island
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