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1 November 2012 Longshore Sediment Transport on the Northern Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula
Christian M. Appendini, Paulo Salles, E. Tonatiuh Mendoza, José López, Alec Torres-Freyermuth
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Abstract

Appendini, C.M.; Salles, P.; Mendoza, E.T.; López, J., and Torres-Freyermuth, A., 2012. Longshore sediment transport on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

This paper presents a qualitative assessment of coastal processes along the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula based on a method used to estimate the potential longshore sediment transport. Despite the deep-water low-energy wave conditions (Hs  =  1 m) in the study area, erosion is critical in many locations, including the urbanized stretches of coast. The waves were characterized using a 12 y (1997–2009) deep-water wave hindcast data (WAVEWATCH III) as forcing for a spectral wind-wave numerical model (MIKE 21 SW) used to propagate the waves to the coast. Simulated time series of significant wave height, peak period, and direction are compared against in situ measurements at 10 m water depth. Numerical results are further employed for estimation of the nearshore wave climate along the coast. Wave conditions are strongly affected by the wide continental shelf in front of the northern Yucatan Peninsula, with an increase in wave energy at the eastern part of the peninsula where the shelf narrows. The nearshore wave climate is employed for the qualitative assessment of potential longshore sediment transport (LITDRIFT model) in the study area. The sediment transport calculations are consistent with both volume impoundment estimations at a groin and dredging estimates at a harbor (−35,000 m3/y). A net westward potential longshore sediment transport is found along the entire coast, ranging between −20,000 and −80,000 m3/y, except west of Holbox, where longshore transport direction is inverted. Based on sediment transport gradients, potential erosion and deposition areas are identified. Erosion/accretion patterns at nonurbanized areas are consistent with field observations. This dominant westward longshore transport suggests an extremely sensitive shoreline to littoral barriers, as supported by observations in the most urbanized areas. These areas show no gradients on longshore sediment transport, whereas beach erosion is a common feature enhanced by littoral barriers. Shore protection should then be oriented toward sediment management strategies.

En este trabajo se presenta una evaluación cualitativa de los procesos costeros a lo largo de la costa norte de Yucatán, en base a una metodología para la estimación del transporte potencial de sedimentos. A pesar de las condiciones de baja energía de oleaje (Hs  =  1 m) en la zona, los problemas de erosión costera son críticos en varias localidades, incluyendo zonas urbanizadas. Se utilizaron 12 años de datos (1979–2009) de un retroanálisis de oleaje (WAVEWATCH III) como condiciones de frontera para un modelo de oleaje en la zona costera (MIKE 21 SW). Las series de tiempo de altura significante, periodo pico y dirección de oleaje se compararon con mediciones in situ a 10 m de profundidad. Las condiciones de oleaje son muy afectadas por la amplia plataforma continental frente a la costa de Yucatán, mostrando una tendencia a incrementar al acercarnos a la parte este de la península donde la plataforma es reducida. El clima de oleaje determinado a lo largo de la costa fue utilizado para evaluar el transporte potencial de sedimentos (modelo LITDRIFT) en la zona de estudio. Los cálculos de transporte son consistentes con las estimaciones en la zona (−35,000 m3/año). Se determinó una tendencia dominante hacia el oeste para el transporte potencial de sedimentos en prácticamente toda la costa, con valores entre −20,000 y −80,000 m3/año, siendo que únicamente al oeste de Holbox hay una inversión en la dirección del transporte. Los patrones de erosión/acumulación en las zonas no urbanizadas son consistentes con observaciones de campo. La dominancia del transporte de sedimentos con dirección al oeste indica que es un

Christian M. Appendini, Paulo Salles, E. Tonatiuh Mendoza, José López, and Alec Torres-Freyermuth "Longshore Sediment Transport on the Northern Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula," Journal of Coastal Research 28(6), 1404-1417, (1 November 2012). https://doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-11-00162.1
Received: 30 August 2011; Accepted: 17 December 2011; Published: 1 November 2012
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KEYWORDS
beach erosion
Gulf of Mexico
LITDRIFT
Longshore sediment transport
MIKE 21 SW
wave climate
WAVEWATCH III
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