Evaluation of criteria for predicting erosion and accretion on an estuarine sand beach, Delaware Bay, New Jersey

Nancy L. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Predicting erosion and accretion of sand beaches in estuaries is important to managing shoreline development and identifying potential relationships between biological productivity and beach change. Wave, sediment and profile data, gathered over twenty-nine days on an estuarine sand beach in Delaware Bay, New Jersey, were used to evaluate the performance of four criteria that predict beach erosion and accretion due to wave-induced cross-shore sediment movement (Dean 1973; Sunamura and Horikawa 1974; Hattori and Kawamata 1980; Kraus et al. 1991). Each criterion defines a relation, between a wave and sediment parameter, and includes a coefficient that discriminates beach erosion and accretion events. Relations, based on small-scale laboratory and field data, were evaluated for predicting erosion or accretion at the study site. Significant wave heights at the study site, monitored near high water, ranged from 0.08 to 0.52 m with periods of 2.4 to 12.8 s. Median grain sizes of sediments on the beach foreshore, gathered at low water, ranged from 0.33 to 0.73 mm. All four criteria showed a clustering of erosion and accretion events. Relations derived from small-scale laboratory data were better predictors of erosion on the profile at the field site than those derived from field data gathered on exposed ocean environments. The planar profile and dominance of incident waves of low height and short period are similar to laboratory conditiOnS characterized by initial planar beach slopes and monochromatic waves. Decreasing the value of the empirical coefficient to account for the differences in the magnitude of wave energy and grain size increases the performance of the criteria tested to predict erosion of the profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
Issue number2 A
StatePublished - Jun 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • General Environmental Science


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