Dynamics of surface moisture content on a macro-tidal beach
Montreuil, A.-L.; Chen, M.; Brand, E.; Strypsteen, G; Rauwoens, P.; Vandenbulcke, A.; De Wulf, A.; Dan, S.; Verwaest, T. (2018). Dynamics of surface moisture content on a macro-tidal beach. J. Coast. Res. Special Issue 85: 206-210. https://hdl.handle.net/10.2112/SI85-042.1
In: Journal of Coastal Research. Coastal Education and Research Foundation: Fort Lauderdale. ISSN 0749-0208, meer
Surface moisture content is a significant factor controlling aeolian sand transport. It is influenced by atmospheric, marine and sub-surface processes. Although several studies reported direct links in surface moisture content with the processes responsible for those variations, there is still a lack of understanding of its dynamic on a macro-tidal beach. This study aims to investigate spatial and temporal dynamics in the surface moisture content of a macro-tidal beach, and to determine the relative importance of factors controlling these. A field experiment was performed on a dissipative and non-barred beach at Mariakerke (Belgium) during an aeolian sand transport event in March 2017. Surface moisture content was measured from the backshore to the tidal zone using a video monitoring system. Simultaneous measurements of grain size, volumetric moisture content, groundwater level, atmospheric conditions, wind parameters, water level and topography were carried out. The hourly generated moisture maps indicate a clearcross-shore gradient of decreasing surface moisture content from the intertidal zone (ranging from 4-18%) to the backshore (none-8%), while it is more complex in the alongshore dimension. The backshore experienced the most rapid reduction of moisture content below 4% with a dryness rate of the surficial zone reaching 29% per hour in thelate morning. It progressively continued to dry in the afternoon when sand strips, mobile aeolian bedforms, were well developed. Changes in moisture content over the beach surface reflect the atmospheric (solar radiation and wind) and marine (tidal elevation, wave and groundwater level) conditions and internal beach characteristics such as bedformsproduced by aeolian sand transport and topography. Thus the continuous combinations of direct and indirect interactions between all these factors contribute to the spatial and temporal dynamics of surface moisture content. A better knowledge of the dynamics of the surface moisture content is a necessary prerequisite for the development ofmodels and to compute budgets of aeolian sand transport.