Sediment transport is a key element in intertidal beach morphodynamics, but measurements of sediment transport are often unreliable. The aim of this study is to quantify and investigate cross-shore sediment transport and the resulting topographic changes for a tide-dominated, sandy beach. Two fortnight-long field experiments were carried out during which hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics were measured with optical and acoustic sensors, while the beach topography was surveyed with a permanent terrestrial laser scanner. Suspended sediment was generally well-mixed and currents were largest at approximately 1.5 m above the bed, which resulted in a peak in sediment transport at 1/3 of the high tide level. The mean transport direction was onshore during calm conditions (wave height < 0.6 m) thanks to tidal currents and offshore during energetic conditions due to undertow. Oscillatory transport was always onshore because of wave asymmetry but it was subordinate to mean transport. The intertidal zone showed an alternation of erosion and accretion with formation of morphological features during energetic (no storm) conditions and smoothening of the morphology during calm conditions. A good qualitative and quantitative agreement was found between the daily cross-shore suspended load and beach volume changes, especially during calm conditions.
- Acoustic backscatter
- Permanent terrestrial laser scanning
- Sediment mixing
- Tidal currents