Wave-driven sediment transport and beach-dune dynamics in a headland bay beach

Graziela Miot da Silva, S.M.S. Mousavi, F. Jose

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper presents a comprehensive study of wave refraction, wave and wind driven sediment transport, foredune development and Holocene barrier evolution over a variety of time scales at Moçambique Beach, Santa Catarina State, Southern Brazil. The motivation for this study was to examine the relationships between estimated wave driven sediment transport, medium and long term aeolian transport, foredune development, and Holocene barrier volumes and morphology. An analysis of 2. years of wave rider data for the region shows two well defined peaks of frequencies: one of swell waves from the south with a period of 12. s, and another peak of sea waves from east-northeast with a period of 7. s. Longshore sediment transport rates were calculated using high resolution hindcast wave data for the South Atlantic Ocean, which was calibrated by the measured buoy data. The dominant southerly waves drive a longshore gradient in wave energy from south to north, and nearshore/surf zone sediment transport increases from south to north. Beach grain size is fine in both the south and north, and medium in the center. The combination of grain size and wave energy variations creates a marked alongshore variation in surf zone beach types ranging from low energy dissipative in the south, moderate energy intermediate in the central area to moderate to high energy dissipative in the north. Estimates of aeolian sediment transport, volumetric changes in foredune deposition and total Holocene dunefield volumes were also calculated. Results indicate that the morphological behavior of the foredune profiles reflects the gradients of longshore sediment transport and the exposure to wind energy and aeolian sediment delivery, with a maximum of sediment volume and transport towards, and in the central part and northern end of the barrier. Holocene (0-7000. years) barrier volumes vary along the embayment, mimicking the trends in both calculated wave and wind driven sediment transport. The Short and Hesp (1982) model was more suitable in predicting the long term (Holocene) barrier evolution than the size and volume of the foredune. The combination of wide beach, high energy dissipation, maximum sediment supply, and high exposure to strong onshore winds is found in the northern end of the embayment where Holocene subaerial barrier volumes are at a maximum. Overall, this study proves that foredune development is closely related to wind exposure, wave energy and gradients of longshore sediment transport, and that dunefield development reflects the increase downdrift in potential sediment supply from the southern to the northern end of the beach, and the change alongshore from low energy dissipative, through intermediate, to high energy dissipative beach-surf zone environments. This paper significantly extends previous models of beach and dune interactions in that it (i) actually determines wave driven sediment transport for various sections of a long embayment, (ii) relates those transport patterns to surf zone/beach morphodynamic types and variations in alongshore sediment patterns, and (iii) correlates foredune volumes and Holocene barrier volumes (which reflect proxy Holocene onshore transport rates) with wave driven sediment transport rates.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-46
    Number of pages18
    JournalMarine Geology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


    • Beach and dune interactions models
    • Foredune dynamics
    • Holocene barrier volumes
    • Sediment supply
    • SWAN wave model
    • Wave energy
    • Wind and wave sediment transport


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