Field measurements of intertidal bar evolution on a high‐energy beach system: Field measurements of intertidal bar evolution

DWT Jackson, Andrew Cooper, MC O'Connor, Emilia Guisado-Pintado, Carlos Loureiro, Giorgio Anfuso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
111 Downloads (Pure)


Nearshore bars play a pivotal role in coastal behaviour, helping to protect and restore beach systems particularly in post‐storm conditions. Examination of bar behaviour under various forcing conditions is important to help understand the short‐ to medium‐term evolution of sandy beach systems. This study carried out over a nine‐week period examines, the behaviour of three intertidal bars along a high energy sandy beach system in northwest Ireland using high‐frequency topographic surveys and detailed nearshore hydrodynamic modelling.
Results show that, in general, there was onshore migration for all the bars during the study period, despite the variability observed between bars, which was driven mostly by wave dominated processes. Under the prevailing conditions migration rates of up to 1.83 m day−1 and as low as 0.07 m day−1 were observed. During higher wave energy events the migration rates of the bars decelerated in their onshore route, however, under lower wave energy conditions, they quickly accelerated maintaining their shoreward migration direction. Tidal influence appears to be subordinate in these conditions, being restricted to moderating the localized wave energy at low tides and in maintaining runnel configurations providing accommodation space for advancing slip faces.

The study highlights the intricate behavioural patterns of intertidal bar behaviour along a high energy sandy coastline and provides new insights into the relative importance of wave and tidal forcing on bar behaviour over a relatively short time period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1114
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Early online date13 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Jun 2016


  • bars
  • slip faces
  • beach
  • wave forcing


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