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Working with nature to enhance beach accretion: laboratory experiments of beach ploughing

Abstract: Beach accretion is the natural mechanism that allows dry beaches to recover. Human response to climate change produces hardening of the coasts and the incident marine climate, which increases beach erosion produced during winter and prevents a full recovery during summer. Beach nourishments are performed all around the world to fight coastal erosion with a nature-friendly philosophy. Softer techniques as beach scraping are also widely applied. A kind of beach scraping is proposed here as an innovative nature-assisted beach enhancement technique, that aims to accelerate naturally produced sand accretion on the beach profile. It consists of mechanically ploughing the intertidal area of a beach to create ridges and furrows. Prototype-scale laboratory experiments were performed to analyse its effectiveness under controlled conditions. Seven 1 h tests having different water levels and the same initial bottom geometry and sea state conditions (Hs = 0.3 m, Tp = 7 s) were performed. Sea state, sand, and initial slope characteristics assured accretive conditions. Ploughed and flatbed initial slope geometries were simultaneously tested into two sub-channels of the wave flume. The results indicate that the bottom roughness is 3.57 times larger for the ploughed geometry. Consequently, wave energy dissipation is larger for the ploughed geometry, and therefore, the significant wave height at the shoreward end of the study area is 11% smaller for the ploughed geometry. This smaller wave height under the ploughed morphology leads to more accretive conditions, as observed from the measured onshore sediment transport, which is 2.9 times larger than the natural transport, and the larger accreted sediment volume in all seven test cases. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of ploughing to enhance natural beach accretion under highly probable accretion conditions. Further research is required to define the thresholds of marine conditions in which the potential of beach ploughing can be exploded.

 Fuente: Coastal Engineering, 2023, 180, 104267

 Publisher: Elsevier

 Publication date: 01/03/2023

 No. of pages: 11

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2022.104267

 ISSN: 0378-3839,1872-7379

 Spanish project: BIA2017-89491-R.

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