A Climate Index Optimized for Longshore Sediment Transport Reveals Interannual and Multidecadal Littoral Cell Rotations
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AuthorAnderson, Dylan; Ruggiero, Peter; Álvarez Antolínez, José Antonio; Méndez Incera, Fernando Javier; Allan, Jonathan
A recent 35-year endpoint shoreline change analysis revealed signiﬁcant counterclockwiserotations occurring in north-central Oregon, USA, littoral cells that extend 10s of kilometers in length.While the potential for severe El Niños to contribute to littoral cell rotations at seasonal to interannual scalewas previously recognized, the dynamics resulting in persistent (multidecadal) rotation were unknown,largely due to a lack of historical wave conditions extending back multiple decades and the difﬁculty ofseparating the timescales of shoreline variability in a high energy region. This study addresses this questionby (1) developing a statistical downscaling framework to characterize wave conditions relevant for longshoresediment transport during data-poor decades and (2) applying a one-line shoreline change model toquantitatively assess the potential for such large embayed beaches to rotate. A climateINdex was optimizedto capture variability in longshore wave power as a proxy for potentialLOngshore Sediment Transport(LOST_IN), and a procedure was developed to simulate many realizations of potential wave conditions fromthe index. Waves were transformed dynamically with Simulating Waves Nearshore to the nearshore asinputs to a one-line model that revealed shoreline rotations of embayed beaches at multiple time and spatialscales not previously discernible from infrequent observations. Model results indicate that littoral cellsrespond to both interannual and multidecadal oscillations, producing comparable shoreline excursions toextreme El Niño winters. The technique quantitatively relates morphodynamic forcing to speciﬁc climatepatterns and has the potential to better identify and quantify coastal variability on timescales relevant to achanging climate.
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