Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ping Wang, Ph.D.


Planform evolution, Profile equilibration, Hurricanes, Nearshore sediment transport, Cross-shore sediment transport, Longshore sediment transport, Shore protection, Design, Construction, Sediment budget, Coastal management


Beach nourishment provides an excellent opportunity for the study of intensified sediment transport gradients and associated morphological changes in a natural setting. The objectives of this study are to quantify and predict longshore and cross-shore transport gradients induced by 1) beach nourishment, 2) different storm wave conditions, and 3) the annual wave climate and long-term sediment supply. The details of sediment transport rates and gradients induced by gradual processes and high-energy events are analyzed on a macro-scale. Well-planned monitoring of the 2004 Upham Beach nourishment project in west-central Florida collected high-spatial and -temporal resolution field data. Three hurricanes passed by the project soon after nourishment was complete.Post-nourishment planform adjustment occurs immediately after nourishment via diffusion spit development at the end transitions. Thus, the initiation of planform adjustment may be abrupt, rather than gradual as pred

icted by the typical diffusion models. Diffusion spit formation is dominant during relatively calm wave conditions on coasts with low wave heights and tidal ranges.Profile equilibration also may be an event-driven, rather than a gradual, process. Rapid profile equilibration following nourishment occurred not only due to hurricane passage, but also during a winter season. The duration between nourishment and the passage of the first high-energy event is an important factor controlling the time scale of profile equilibration.The passage of three hurricanes generated different wave conditions and induced different sediment transport directions, rates, and gradients due to their variable proximities to the project area. The direction of cross-shore transport was governed by wave steepness. Onshore sediment transport occurred during a storm event, in contrast with the concepts of gradual onshore transport during mild wave conditions and abrupt offshore transport during storm events, as

cited in the literature.By formulating sediment budgets on various temporal and spatial scales, both event-driven and average transport rates and gradients can be resolved. Annual average transport rates for a region should not be arbitrarily applied to nourished beaches; rather, sediment budgets formulated with high-spatial and -temporal resolution field data should be formulated during the design phase of future nourishment projects.