Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, will track the effects of wintertime storms and assess the effectiveness of coastal protection projects beginning Nov. 19 in Seal Beach, Calif.
The Seal Beach Winter Storm Beach and Wave Monitoring Project, funded by the University of Southern California Sea Grant office and the California Department of Parks and Recreation, will run through March 15, 2015, enabling researchers to observe beach dynamics through an entire storm season. The researchers will measure waves, tides, water levels, and the evolution of sand levels, said project principal investigator Timu Gallien, a postdoctoral researcher at Scripps.
Coastal management agencies frequently create sand berms and other protective structures at Seal Beach in response to winter storm surges, which can significantly enhance the encroachment of ocean waves onto land, especially when storms coincide with high-tide events.
“Seal Beach is a unique, highly managed beach. The observations we gather this winter will fundamentally advance our understanding of the beach-berm system and help optimize future designs,” said Gallien.
Researchers will employ a variety of research tools, including Jet Skis and all-terrain vehicles equipped with GPS that can make precise measurements of sand elevation. The researchers will also conduct walking surveys using dollies and devices resembling unicycles called MoBERMs (Mobile Beach Erosion Monitoring). These devices are also fitted with GPS units.
Gallien said that in addition to improving berm design, the results of the study will improve site-specific coastal flood forecasting.
– Robert Monroe