Elizabeth Royer, Ping Wang, and Jun Cheng, 2023. “Determining depth of closure based on time-series beach profiles and empirical formulas: A case study along the Florida coast”, Shore & Beach, 91(1), 3-22.
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Determining depth of closure based on time-series beach profiles and empirical formulas: A case study along the Florida coast
Elizabeth Royer, Ping Wang, and Jun Cheng
School of Geosciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620 USA
Depth of closure (DOC) is defined as the most landward depth seaward of which there is no significant change in bed elevation and no significant net sediment exchange between the nearshore and the offshore over a certain period of time, such as 5 to 20 years. DOC is an essential parameter used in beach and shore protection, sediment management, and many other aspects of coastal studies. Taking advantage of advancements in wave hindcast and bathymetry measurement in the past 20 years (2000-2019), this study determined the DOC at 12 locations along the Florida coast, including three from the northwest Gulf coast, three from the west Gulf coast, and six from the east Atlantic coast. The 12 sites covered a wide range of coastal morphodynamic conditions, with considerable difference in tidal ranges, incident wave heights, as well as nearshore and offshore morphology. Hindcast wave data from WAVEWATCHIII, available since 2005, were analyzed and applied to calculate the closure depth using various empirical formulas. At all the 12 study sites, time-series profiles demonstrated an apparent convergence point indicating the presences of a DOC. The bed-level change at DOC, as quantified by the standard deviation of elevation variation, ranged from 0.05 m to 0.19 m. Along the studied northwest Florida Gulf coast the DOC ranged from 9.12 m to 9.76 m. The DOC along the studied west Florida Gulf coast ranged from 1.59 m to 4.06 m and is influenced by the shallow flat inner continental shelf. Along the studied east Florida Atlantic coast, the DOC ranged from 4.35 m to 8.20 m, with considerable alongshore variation. The Birkemeier formula yielded the closest predictions to the measured values. A linear relationship between the seaward slope of the outer bar and DOC was identified. Incorporating the seaward slope of the outer bar into the Birkemeier formula improved the accuracy of DOC prediction.