Aeolian transport rates across raked and unraked beaches on a developed coast

Karl F. Nordstrom, Nancy L. Jackson, Katherine H. Korotky, Jack A. Puleo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Wind characteristics and aeolian transport were measured on a naturally evolving beach and dune and a nearby site where the beach is raked and sand-trapping fences are deployed. The beaches were composed of moderately well sorted to very well sorted fine to medium sand. The backshore at the raked site was wider and the foredune was more densely vegetated and about 1m higher than at the unraked site. Wind speeds were monitored using anemometers placed at 1m elevation and sand transport was monitored using vertical traps during oblique onshore, alongshore and offshore winds occurring in March and April 2009. Inundation of the low backshore through isolated swash channels prevented formation of a continuously decreasing cross-shore moisture gradient. The surface of the berm crest was dryer than the backshore, making the berm crest the greatest source of offshore losses during offshore winds. The lack of storm wrack on the raked beach reduced the potential for sediment accumulation seaward of the dune crest during onshore winds, and the higher dune crest reduced wind speeds and sediment transport from the dune to the backshore during offshore winds. Accretion at wrack seaward of the dune toe on the unraked beach resulted in a wider dune field and higher, narrower backshore. Although fresh wrack is an effective local trap for aeolian transport, wrack that becomes buried appears to have little effect as a barrier and can supply dry sand for subsequent transport. Aeolian transport rates were greater on the narrower but dryer backshore of the unraked site. Vegetation growth may be necessary to trap sand within zones of buried wrack in order to allow new incipient foredunes to evolve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-789
Number of pages11
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Beach raking
  • Foredunes
  • Sand fences
  • Sediment trapping
  • Wrack lines


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