Abstract

Ensemble-averaged suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) and transport from the swash zone of a high-energy beach are investigated with respect to the time-averaged setup level obtained from calibrated video records. Ensemble-averaged data indicate variability in SSC between both uprush and backwash during rising and falling tides. Mean ebb-tide SSC exceeds mean flood-tide SSC during both the uprush (by 28–34%) and backwash (by up to 25%). Suspended sediment concentration also varies between swash phases over a tidal cycle with mean uprush SSC exceeding mean backwash SSC by 46% to 108% depending on tidal level, with a general percentage decrease during the falling tide. The net ensemble-averaged transport (velocity-SSC product) magnitude displays a decreasing trend from roughly 30 to 20 kg m−1 during the rising tide and from roughly 45 to 15 kg m−1 during the falling tide that cannot be explained based on the percentage of foreshore immersion (water depth) alone. Thus, relative tidal level (cross-shore instrument position within the swash zone) and the phase of tide (rising or falling) within the swash zone play an important role in determining the magnitude of sediment suspension and transport.

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