Storms impacts on a sandy beach including seasonal recovery: alongshore variability and management influences



Despite a global context of shoreline retreat, coastal areas and in particular sandy coasts are increasingly attractive. To handle the problem of coastline retreat different management strategies are deployed and among them soft methods as windbreakers or hard ones as seawalls. But all those methods are known to interfere in the natural evolution of the beach/dune systems at different timescales. To underline potential influences of management strategies on erosion and recovery periods, high frequency DGPS surveys coupled with video images are recorded at a workshop-site exhibiting various management strategies, Biscarrosse beach (SW of France) from November 2015 until September 2016. Results for the winter 2016 highlight a global erosion of the beach associated to a dune foot retreat and an alongshore variability in the beach response to events. The same patterns can be observed during the seasonal recovery period (April to August), in particular a lag in the berm reconstruction in front of the seawall. The LVI (Longshore Variation Index) reflects possible sediment processes taking place between the different sections of the beach: while recovery seems to be dominated by cross-shore exchanges in the unmanaged section, longshore sediment processes seem to be the origin of the recovery in the managed section.  This variability could be linked to a permanent rip current visible (98% of observation) in front of the seawall that could cause an offshore sediment export explaining both the lag in term of recovery timescale and the different sediment processes involved during the recovery period. During the erosion season, sediment exchanges between the beach and the dune are limited due to the presence of seawalls and beach erosion and dune retreat in the two ends on the wall accelerated.


Coastal management; Alongshore variability; Sandy beach; Shoreline variations; Seasonal recovery; Rip currents; Longshore sediment transport.

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