Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ping Wang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ruiliang Pu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Walton, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jun Cheng, Ph.D.


beach erosion, storms, nearshore sediment transport, beach profile changes


Storms play a significant role in beach morphodynamics. Storm-induced beach-profile changes and their longshore variations are investigated in this study. The impacts of four summer tropical storms and two series of winter storms over the last 10 years along the coast of Treasure Island were documented. Tropical storms Alberto in 2006, Fay in 2008, Debby in 2012, Hermine in 2016 and winter storms in winter seasons of 2014 and 2015 are discussed in this study. In general, the Treasure Island beach experienced more erosion generated by tropical storms with greater intensity, but shorter duration, as compared to winter storms due to lower waves, weaker wind and smaller storm surge. Winter storms typically do not generate high storm surge and generally do not cause erosion at the dune and back beach unless the pre-storm beach is very narrow. Based on pre- and post-storm beach-profile surveys along the coast of Treasure Island, the northern end of the barrier island, located directly downdrift of the John’s Pass tidal inlet, experienced erosion along the entire profile during the storms. Along the middle part of Treasure Island, dry beach suffered erosion during both the tropical storms and winter seasons while the nearshore zone suffered erosion during the tropical storms and experienced deposition during the winter seasons. Sunset Beach at the southern end experienced severe erosion during tropical storm Debby, but not during other storms. Winter seasons caused relatively small changes to the morphology of Sunset Beach. Deposition happened in the nearshore zone along Sunset Beach during winter storms. Survey line R143 at the very south end of Treasure Island suffered erosion in tropical storm Alberto, Debby and Hermine. Beach profile changes induced by Tropical storm Fay was different as compared to other tropical storms. Considerably less beach erosion occurred due to the large distance of the storm path from the study area.

Overall, Sunshine Beach, bounded by John’s Pass inlet at northern end of Treasure Island, was influenced both by wave conditions and the tidal flows. Sediment transport was to the north along the coast of Sunshine Beach when wind direction was from south, e.g. during tropical storm Fay. However the northward sediment transport was blocked by the John’s Pass jetty. Therefore, deposition occurred at Sunshine Beach during tropical storm Fay. When wind direction was from north (e.g. during tropical storms Alberto and during the winter seasons), southward sediment transport was generated. Erosion occurs during the northerly approaching storms. The morphodynamics of the middle section of Treasure Island are influenced by the sand supply at the attachment point of John’s Pass ebb delta. Sunset Beach experienced various levels of erosion during the tropical storms not only because of the high wave, strong wind and high water level generated by storms, but also due to the higher waves associated with an offshore dredged pit.

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Geology Commons