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JMSE, Vol. 4, Pages 30: Assessing Embayed Equilibrium State, Beach Rotation and Environmental Forcing Influences; Tenby Southwest Wales, UK

ABSTRACT

The morphological change of a headland bay beach—Tenby, West Wales, UK—was analysed over a 73-year period (1941–2014). Geo-referenced aerial photographs were used to extract shoreline positions which were subsequently compared with wave models based on storm event data. From the 1941 baseline, results showed shoreline change rates reduced over time with regression models enabling a prediction of shoreline equilibrium circa 2061. Further temporal analyses showed southern and central sector erosion and northern accretion, while models identified long-term plan-form rotation, i.e., a negative phase relationship between beach extremities and a change from negative to positive correlation within the more stable central sector. Models were then used in conjunction with an empirical 2nd order polynomial equation to predict the 2061 longshore equilibrium shoreline position under current environmental conditions. Results agreed with previous regional research which showed that dominant south and southwesterly wave regimes influence south to north longshore drift with counter drift generated by less dominant easterly regimes. The equilibrium shoreline was also used to underpin flood and inundation assessments, identifying areas at risk and strategies to increase resilience. UK shoreline management plans evaluate coastal vulnerability based upon temporal epochs of 20, 50 and 100 years. Therefore, this research evaluating datasets spanning 73 years has demonstrated the effectiveness of linear regression in integrating temporal and spatial consequences of sea level rise and storms. The developed models can be used to predict future shoreline positions aligned with shoreline management plan epochs and inform embayed beach shoreline assessments at local, regional and international scales, by identifying locations of vulnerability and enabling the development of management strategies to improve resilience under scenarios of sea level rise and climate change.