Longshore transport gradients and erosion processes along the Ilha Comprida (Brazil) beach system

Filipe Galiforni Silva, Paulo Henrique Gomes de Oliveira Sousa, Eduardo Siegle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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The aim of this study is to assess the longshore transport gradients and wave power distribution along the Ilha Comprida beach system and relate it to the distribution of the current erosion process along this barrier island. The study is based on quantitative analysis of the potential longshore drift and the wave power distribution, as well as on the morpho-sedimentary seasonal variations in the beach system. Therefore, the 30-year wave reanalysis database from the global wave generation model WAVEWATCH III (NOAA/NCEP) has been extracted and analyzed for the region, as well as field surveys with topographic measurements and sediment samples. The numerical model MIKE 21 SW has been applied to propagate waves onshore and recognize the longshore transport tendencies and the nearshore wave power distribution. Results show an overall transport trend to the NE, being larger in the southern sector than in the northern sector of the island. Varying transport magnitudes prove to generate gradients in longshore drift. Two positive gradients in the longshore drift, resulting in local sediment losses, are observed. One is found in the central-southern area and another in the northern part of the island. Both areas coincide with erosive spots, as observed through field surveys. The central-southern positive gradient becomes larger and migrates to the south during the most energetic months, while the northern gradient presents only variations in magnitude, being relatively stable in position throughout the year. Nearshore wave power results show two main areas with higher values that coincide with the positive longshore transport gradients. Sediment data presents low temporal variability, although spatial variations have been found reflecting the local hydrodynamic conditions, while the volumetric data shows largest values in the central-northern sector, being smaller in the central-southern and northern regions. Moreover, the central portions are more stable than the extreme portions regarding its seasonal variability. Our findings show that along this wide open stretch of coastline, exposed to the same offshore wave regime, an alternated nearshore wave regime results in areas with hydrodynamic conditions which lead to erosion or accretion. Erosion is caused by negative sediment balance as a function of higher wave power and positive gradients in longshore transport, and accretion due to lower wave power and negative gradients in longshore transport. Our findings help in further understanding the island’s long-term evolution and current state of its beaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-865
JournalOcean dynamics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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