Beach Changes Associated With Active 2009-2010 El Niño Winter Along the West-Central Florida Barrier Islands

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Conference Proceeding

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



A 14-year wind, wave, and tide record from 1996-2010 was analyzed to examine whether strong El Niño winters are associated with above normal energetic conditions along west-central Florida coast. Beach changes during 2009-2010 El Niño winter were compared with those from three previous winters. The strong 1997-1998 and 2009-2010 El Niño winters correspond with, on average, the highest waves and strongest winds. However, different wind patterns were measured, with a stronger southerly component during the 1997-1998 winter, while a northerly component dominated during 2009-2010 winter. Due to the elevated southward longshore transport during 2009-2010 winter, above average beach erosion occurred downdrift of tidal inlets, while accumulation occurred along updrift beaches. Elevated rates of sand bypassing yielded increased rates of beach accretion at the John's Pass ebb delta attachment point. An erosional hot-spot related to longshore transport divergence due to wave refraction over the Clearwater Pass ebb delta suffered increased rates of erosion.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Proceedings of Coastal Sediments 2011, p.1229-1242

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