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Carolina Coastal Change Processes

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COAWST Modeling

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South Carolina Coastal Change

Understanding the processes that control local sediment fluxes is critical in evaluating regional vulnerability to coastal erosion. The geologic framework component of the South Carolina Regional Coastal Erosion Study (SCCES) identified an elongated sediment shoal aligned obliquely to the coast offshore of Singleton Swash in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The shoal is a Holocene marine deposit that consists of fine to medium, clean sand and represents a potential source for aggregate material needed for ongoing beach nourishment activities in the Myrtle Beach area. The influences that this feature may have on the along-shore distribution of wave power and local sediment transport are not clear due to a lack of observation data and numerical modeling of the region. Mining the shoal could disrupt important mechanisms controlling beach vulnerability to coastal erosion.

This project task involves the analysis of observational data collected as part of the SCCES, and additional coastal process modeling for the Grand Strand region. Modeling based on the physical oceanographic observations will increase our understanding of the hydrodynamic and sediment transport processes responsible responsible for shaping the shoal and adjacent shoreline. Both the observational data and numerical models will be used to understand the circulation dynamics and to predict sediment transport patterns around the shoal and in the nearshore (surf zone).

Map showing SC study area

Location of deployment sites of oceanographic equipment offshore of Myrtle Beach, SC, as part of the South Carolina Coastal Erosion Study. The equipment were deployed to investigate an large sand deposit located on the inner shelf.

Map showing modeled bottom stress for the SC grid

Visualization of model output of current bottom stress (N m-2) distribution during a storm event in Long Bay, SC.The numerical models are being used to understand the process that control oceanographic circulation and sediment transport in the region.

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