Observations of aeolian transport in coastal areas have focused on short-term experiments because of limitations imposed by instrumentation. This paper uses a case study at Greenwich Dunes, Prince Edward Island National Park, Canada, to analyze how sediment transport takes place at the beach over periods of weeks to months. A monitoring station provided hourly time series of vegetation cover, shoreline position, fetch distances, surficial moisture content, presence of ice and snow, wind speed and direction and transport processes over nine months. Analysis shows that high wind speeds may not generate any net transport intothe dunes because of the limitations imposed by snow/ice cover, moisture, and short fetch distances. Despite extreme winds during intense storms, such events often lead to wave scarping rather than aeolian sediment input to the foredunes. When sediment was transported on the beach, the magnitude was regulated by a combination of factors including: angle of wind approach, fetch distance, moisture content, and duration of the wind event. In particular, angle of wind approach (and therefore fetch distance) may demote a high magnitude wind event with strong transport potential to one with no transport at all, which poses challenges for predicting the effects of individual storms over the course of several months. A significant proportion ofsediment delivery to the foredunes was associated with wind events of low to medium magnitude. It is suggested here that large magnitude wind events have low probabilities of resulting in transport towards the foredune because factors such as wave inundation play an increasing role in preventing sediment movement across the beach. This has implications for modelling and management, and highlights differences between the magnitude and frequency of aeolian transport events in the coastal environment compared to those in deserts and to fluvial sediment transport.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|