Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 4 (2012)

Optimization of beach profile spacing: an applicable tool for coastal monitoring

Juan José Muñoz-Perez
Applied Physics Dept., University of Cadiz, Spain

Andrés Payo
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Kumamoto University, Japan

Jorge Roman-Sierra
Applied Physics Dept., University of Cadiz, Spain

Marina Navarro
Applied Physics Dept., University of Cadiz, Spain

Luís Moreno
Coastal Engineering Division, Intecsa-Inarsa S.A, Spain


This paper presents a simplified and straightforward method for determining optimal beach profile spacing from an economic point of view with an admissible error. This error can be computed theoretically by comparing different profile spacings from two consecutive bathymetries. When a beach sediment budget (from previous monitoring surveys) or the volume density of a beach nourishment project is known, a virtual bathymetry can be designed; therefore, a unique real bathymetry would be needed. The method is applied and analysed for beaches with different characteristics regarding tide, energy, morphology and natural features. The results indicate that the estimated errors are proportional to a beach heterogeneity factor, depending on each particular beach case, such that large spacings do not necessarily induce large errors. In our case, profile spacings of 100 m induce average errors of less than 5%. Moreover, differences in tidal range and the existence of rocky reefs do not seem to affect the results.


beach monitoring; beach profile spacing; volume error; erosion rate; beach nourishment; topographic surveying

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