Relationship Between Wave Climate and Performance of a Recently Nourished Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Pinellas County, Florida

by Gary J. Creaser, Univ of South Florida, Tampa, United States,
Richard A. Davis, Jr., Univ of South Florida, Tampa, United States,
John Haines, Univ of South Florida, Tampa, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Beach Nourishment Engineering and Management Considerations


A large beach nourishment project was completed at Indian Rocks Beach on the central Gulf coast of Florida in December of 1990. The performance of the project has been monitored monthly by the measurement of 34 shore-normal profiles at 150 meter intervals along the beach. A directional wave gauge deployed in 4.5 meters of water on one of the profiles recorded wave conditions at 6 and 8 hour intervals thoughout the 12 month study period. Wave data collected during the first year of the project provide an opportunity to correlate erosion and accretion episodes with incident wave energy. Correlation between weather, wave, and profile data shows that most erosion of the beachface occurs during the passage of winter cold fronts advancing from the northwest. The alongshore response to wave events is controlled by the orientation of the cold fronts with fronts highly oblique to the coast producing a southerly littoral drift, and fronts parallel to the coastline creating a more cross-shore transport. Alongshore variations in profile response can be explained by using a wave refraction model to predict alongshore wave energy distribution patterns.

Subject Headings: Beach protection and nourishment | Wave climates | Rocks | Water waves | Wave refraction | Beach profiles | Littoral drift | Coastal management | Florida | United States

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