Hydrodynamics Offshore of the North Beach of Indian River Inlet, DE

Monday, 15 December 2014: 1:55 PM
Nick Robert DiCosmo and Jack Anthony Puleo, Univ of DE-Civil & Envir Engrg, Newark, DE, United States
The Indian River Inlet (IRI) on the east coast of Delaware, USA connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian River and Rehoboth Bays. Long-term and large-scale net alongshore sediment transport along this portion of coastline is from south to north. The north beach of IRI suffers from severe erosion due to interruption of the alongshore transport and current variability near the inlet. The magnitude of such erosion has increased over the past decade and questions have arisen as to the cause. The goal of this study is to quantify currents and wave patterns and estimate sediment transport rates at the north beach and near the inlet in an effort to determine the causes of persistent erosion. Data were obtained from October 2013 to March 2014 in the form of 3 separate 28-day deployments. Each deployment consisted of 4 proposed deployment sites. Data at each site were collected using a bottom mounted Nortek Aquadopp Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and 2 Campbell Scientific Optical Backscatter Sensors (OBS). Currents and OBS data were sampled every 120 s. Waves were sampled for approximately 17 minutes at the beginning of every hour.

Data analysis from the deployments indicates the presence of several interesting trends in currents that can be linked to the persistent erosion. Current data are filtered to quantify typical current speed and direction for a tidal cycle (peak flood to peak flood) at each deployment site. The typical currents off of the north beach and up to 800 m north of the north jetty are mostly directed southward over the entire tidal cycle. This consistent southward flow implies: 1) there is no flow reversal based on tide, contrary to what might be expected at an inlet adjacent beach, 2) the typical current direction is opposite of the expectations for the known long-term large-scale net alongshore transport and 3) the consistency of this atypical current may be responsible for transporting sediment southward and away from the north beach. Currents and waves will be further analyzed for storm and non-storm conditions in order to more completely quantify the hydrodynamics of the area. Sediment data will also be analyzed in conjunction with the hydrodynamic data in order to better understand the sediment transport process.