Observations of Wave Influence on Alongshore Ebb-Tidal Delta Morphodynamics at Oregon Inlet, NC

TitleObservations of Wave Influence on Alongshore Ebb-Tidal Delta Morphodynamics at Oregon Inlet, NC
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsHumberston, JH, Lippmann, TC, McNinch, J
JournalMarine Geology
Date PublishedDecember

A Radar Inlet Observation System (RIOS) collected hourly X-band radar data at the wave dominated Oregon Inlet, NC, for 9 months from September 2016 to May 2017. The intensity of the radar backscatter, predominantly associated with surface wave shoaling and breaking, was time-averaged to provide an implied measure of bedforms superimposed on the ebb-tidal delta. Eulerian and Lagrangian motion tracking analyses determined the bedform alongshore migration rates over the study period; these were found to be significantly correlated to estimates of longshore sediment flux based on offshore wave parameters given by Ashton and Murray (2006). Although the exact magnitude of sediment transport cannot be directly estimated from bedform migration, the correlation does support an underlying assumption that sediment transport varies proportionally in both magnitude and direction to average bedform movements. The implications of these findings were further explored through application of the sediment transport model to a year long period of continuous offshore wave data (20 Oct 2016 to 20 Oct 2017). The predicted net transport of 90,000 m3 southward during this year is consistent with a previous estimate of inlet bypassing (Dolan and Glassen 1973). However, pronounced and opposing seasonal transport patterns were an order of magnitude higher than the yearly net, and could lead to significant inter-annual variability in alongshore sediment transport with similar dynamic response in ebb-delta morphodynamics at Oregon Inlet.

Refereed DesignationRefereed