Scientia Marina, Vol 66, No 4 (2002)

An equilibrium profile model for tidal environments


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2002.66n4325

A. M. Bernabeu
Dpto. de Geociencias Marinas y O. T., Universidad de Vigo, Spain

R. Medina
Ocean & Coastal Research Group, Dpto. de Ciencias y Técnicas del Agua y del M. A., Universidad de Cantabria, Spain

C. Vidal
Ocean & Coastal Research Group, Dpto. de Ciencias y Técnicas del Agua y del M. A., Universidad de Cantabria, Spain

Abstract


During a full tidal cycle, the beach profile is exposed to continuously changing hydrodynamical conditions. Consequently, the profile evolves constantly to adapt to these changes. The equilibrium condition on tidal beaches is defined in terms of the relative occurrence of swash, surf zone and shoaling processes. We have assumed that the tidal beach profile is in equilibrium when the net sediment transport along a tidal cycle is zero. In this model the contribution of swash is considered negligible. A simple and easy-to-apply equilibrium profile formulation is proposed. This model is based on the assumption that surf zone processes dominate the profile morphology wherever wave breaking occurs during the tidal cycle. The obtained equilibrium profile is valid from the high tide level to the breaker point at low tide level. The tidal influence on the profile morphology is the lengthening of the surf profile. The higher the tidal range, the longer the surf profile. The model was tested against field and laboratory data, showing reasonable predictions of measured beach profiles.

Keywords


equilibrium beach profile; tide; wave breaking; wave shoaling

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