Constraints on aeolian sediment transport to foredunes within an undeveloped backshore enclave on a developed coast

Kayla L. Kaplan, Karl F. Nordstrom, Nancy L. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Landforms present in undeveloped beach enclaves located between properties developed with houses and infrastructure are often left to evolve naturally but are influenced by the human structures near them. This field study evaluates how buildings and sand-trapping fences change the direction of wind approach, reduce wind speed, and restrict fetch distances for sediment entrainment, thereby reducing the potential for aeolian transport and development of dunes in enclaves. Field data were gathered in an 80 m long, 44 m deep beach enclave on the ocean shoreline of New Jersey, USA. Comparison of wind characteristics in the enclave with a site unaffected by buildings revealed that offshore winds in the enclave are reduced in strength and altered in direction by landward houses, increasing the relative importance of longshore winds. Vertical arrays of anemometers on the foredune crest, foredune toe and berm crest in the enclave revealed increasing wind speed with distance offshore, with strongest winds on the berm crest. Vertical cylindrical traps on the foredune crest, foredune toe, mid-backshore, berm crest and upper foreshore revealed the greatest rate of sediment transport on the berm crest. Sediment samples from the beach and from traps revealed limited potential for aeolian transport because of coarse grain sizes. Strong oblique onshore winds are common in this region and are normally important for transporting sand to dunes. The length of an enclave and the setback distance on its landward side determine the degree to which sediment delivered by oblique winds contributes to dune growth. The landward edge of the enclave (defined by a sand fence near the dune toe) is sheltered along its entire length from winds blowing at an angle to the shoreline of 25° or less. A foredune set back this distance in an enclave the length of an individual lot (about 20 m) would be sheltered at an angle of 57° or less, reducing the opportunity for dune building by onshore winds. Reduced potential for aeolian transport in enclaves implies that human actions may be required to build dunes artificially to protect buildings and roads from storm overwash.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalGeomorphology
Volume271
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Keywords

  • Aeolian processes
  • Coastal dunes
  • Managed realignment
  • Sand fences

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