Shore ice is an important facet of cold‐climate coastal geomorphology yet is generally understudied in comparison to other aspects such as nearshore hydrodynamics. Climate change is resulting in more dynamic shore ice regimes (i.e., shortened ice season and multiple freeze–thaw cycles); thus, a clear understanding of the role of shore ice in coastal geomorphic evolution is needed. The presence of shore ice is generally thought to provide the coast a protective buffer from storm waves though some studies have indicated enhanced nearshore erosion and sediment transport associated with ice development. This is particularly apparent during the breakup phase of shore ice as sediment can be scoured from the bed, deposited in place, or transported offshore. Given this, understanding the mechanics of shore ice breakup is critical. This study documents the first combined field and laboratory evaluation of the physical conditions leading to shore ice breakup, detailing the complex interplay between thermal and mechanical processes in ice deterioration. Through a wave tank experiment as well as field observations, wave impacts alone are shown to be unlikely to cause breakup of shore ice and thermal weakening is required. This has important implications both for predicting when ice will break up as well as for identifying potential nearshore sediment transport pathways. If ice breaks up entirely from thermal degradation, then sediment is likely to be deposited in place, whereas if ice breaks up from a combination of thermal degradation and wave impact, then sediment can be redistributed across the shoreface. Monitoring of meteorological conditions during ice breakup can likely be used as a first‐order predictor of geomorphic changes resulting from shore ice deterioration.
Physical processes driving barrier island change during storms are important to understand to mitigate coastal hazards and to evaluate conceptual models for barrier evolution. Spatial variations in barrier island topography, landcover characteristics, and nearshore and back‐barrier hydrodynamics can yield complex morphological change that requires models of increasing resolution and physical complexity to predict. Using the Coupled Ocean‐Atmosphere‐Wave‐Sediment Transport (COAWST) modeling system, we investigated two barrier island breaches that occurred on Fire Island, NY during Hurricane Sandy (2012) and at Matanzas, FL during Hurricane Matthew (2016). The model employed a recently implemented infragravity (IG) wave driver to represent the important effects of IG waves on nearshore water levels and sediment transport. The model simulated breaching and other changes with good skill at both locations, resolving differences in the processes and evolution. The breach simulated at Fire Island was 250 m west of the observed breach, whereas the breach simulated at Matanzas was within 100 m of the observed breach. Implementation of the vegetation module of COAWST to allow three‐dimensional drag over dune vegetation at Fire Island improved model skill by decreasing flows across the back‐barrier, as opposed to varying bottom roughness that did not positively alter model response. Analysis of breach processes at Matanzas indicated that both far‐field and local hydrodynamics influenced breach creation and evolution, including remotely generated waves and surge, but also surge propagation through back‐barrier waterways. This work underscores the importance of resolving the complexity of nearshore and back‐barrier systems when predicting barrier island change during extreme events.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Anegada's north shore was most impacted by Hurricane Irma. The surge reached about 3.8 m above sea level and onshore flow depths ranged between 1.2 to 1.6 m. Storm wave action created 1 to 1.5 m high erosional scarps along the beaches, and the coastline locally retreated by 6 to 8 m.
Onshore sand sheets reached up to 40 m inland, overlie a sharp erosive contact and have thicknesses of 7 to 35 cm along the north shore. In contrast, lobate overwash fans in the south are 2 to 10 cm thick and reach 10 to 30 m inland.
Moreover, the hurricane reworked a pre‐existing coast‐parallel coral rubble ridge on the central north shore. The crest of the coral rubble ridge shifted up to 10 m inland due to the landward transport of cobbles and boulders (maximum size 0.5 m3) that were part of the pre‐hurricane ridge.
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