Coastal Processes Back
Classical coastal processes result from the complex interactions that occur between hydrodynamic and aerodynamic forcing functions – primarily winds, waves, water levels, and currents – and the coastal margin. Areas of practical application include predictions of alongshore and cross-shore sediment transport, bluff erosion, shoreline evolution, wave runup, and coastal flooding.

Our experience in this discipline ranges from fluorescent tracer studies of dyed sand grains and the prediction of transport rates for coarse gravel to the derivation of sediment budgets for entire littoral cells. For more than a decade, we have investigated the relationships between environmental conditions and coastal change on Southern California beaches.

In cold regions, classical coastal processes may be altered by factors that include sea ice and permafrost. The seasonality of sediment transport is governed by the length of the ice-free season, while the rate of transport may be decreased by the presence of ice-bonded sediment or increased by thermal degradation of ice-rich sediment. In addition, the nearshore sea bottom is subject to disturbance by the unique phenomena of ice gouging and strudel scouring.

Our personnel have maintained a continuous involvement with projects involving coastal processes in cold regions since 1980. Representative projects include a detailed study of sediment transport and coastal change for a 14-mile stretch of the Beaufort Sea Coast, numerical simulations of sacrificial beach performance for man-made causeways and coastal pads, and multi-year studies of ice gouges and strudel scours as they relate to subsea pipelines.
Temperate Regions
Cold Regions