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  1. Abstract

    Erosive beach scarps influence beach vulnerability, yet their formation remains challenging to predict. In this study, a 1:2.5 scale laboratory experiment was used to study the subsurface hydrodynamics of a beach dune during an erosive event. Pressure and moisture sensors buried within the dune were used both to monitor the water table and to examine vertical pressure gradients in the upper 0.3 m of sand as the slope of the upper beach developed into a scarp. Concurrently, a line‐scan lidar tracked swash bores and monitored erosion and accretion patterns along a single cross‐shore transect throughout the experiment. As wave conditions intensified, a discontinuity in the slope of the dune formed; the discontinuity grew steeper and progressed landward at the same rate as theR2%runup extent until it was a fully formed scarp with a vertical face. Within the upper 0.15 m of the partially saturated sand, upward pore pressure gradients were detected during backwash, influencing the effective weight of sand and potentially contributing to beachface erosion. The magnitude and frequency of the upward pressure gradients increased with deeper swash depths and with frequency of wave interaction, and decreased with depth into the sand. A simple conceptual model for scarp formation is proposed that incorporates observations of upward‐directed pressure gradients from this study while providing a reference for future studies seeking to integrate additional swash zone sediment transport processes that may impact scarp development.

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  2. Abstract

    Entrainment and suspension of sediment particles with the size distribution similar to a range of natural sands were simulated with a focus on the vertical size sorting and transport dynamics in response to different wave conditions. The simulations were performed using a two‐phase Eulerian‐Lagrangian model by combining the LIGGGHTS discrete element method solver for sediment and SedFoam solver for the fluid phase. The model was first validated for a range of sand grain sizes from 0.21 to 0.97 mm having well‐sorted and mixed (bimodal) size distributions using laboratory oscillatory flow data. Three sediment bed configurations were studied under a wide range of velocity‐skewed waves with different wave intensity and skewness. It was found that the bimodal distribution having only 30% of coarse fraction and 70% of medium fraction responds similar to a well‐sorted coarse sand configuration. Sediment fluxes of the bimodal distribution were slightly higher than those of well‐sorted coarse sand because of the pronounced inverse grading in the bimodal distribution. Furthermore, for the bimodal distribution the medium fraction acted as a relatively smooth foundation underneath the coarse fraction which facilitated the mobilization of the coarser particles. Under high energy wave conditions, the smoothing feature was exacerbated and further caused the formation of plug flow where a thick layer of intense sediment flux was observed. Model results also showed that under high skewness waves, phase‐lag effect occurred in well‐sorted medium sand which caused lower net onshore sediment transport rates but the effect was significantly reduced for mixed sediments.

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  3. Abstract

    A large‐scale laboratory experiment was conducted to evaluate cross‐shore sediment transport and bed response on a sandbar under erosive and accretive field‐scale wave conditions (total of 11 cases). Unprecedented vertical resolution of sediment concentration was achieved through the use of conductivity concentration profilers alongside miniature fiber optic backscatter profilers. Observations were made of intrawave (phase‐averaged) and wave‐averaged cross‐shore sediment flux profiles and transport rates in the lower half of the water column on the crest of a sandbar. The net sediment transport rate was partitioned into suspended sediment (SS) and bed load (BL) components to quantify the relative contributions of SS and BL to the total sediment transport rate. Net SS transport rates were greater than net BL transport rates for the positive (wave crest) half‐cycle in 6 of 11 cases, compared to 100% (11 of 11) for the negative (wave trough) half‐cycle. Net (wave‐averaged) BL transport rates were greater, in magnitude, than net SS transport rates for 7 of the 11 cases. The dominant mode of transport was determined from the ratio of net BL to net SS transport rate magnitudes. The net transport rate was negative (offshore‐directed) when SS dominated and positive (onshore‐directed) when BL dominated. Net BL transport rate correlated well with third moments of free‐stream velocity (r2 = 0.72), suggesting that energetics‐type quasi‐steady formulae may be suitable for predicting BL transport under the range of test conditions.

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