Investigating Coastal Processes and Sediment Transport Mechanisms along the South East Queensland Shoreline.
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Queensland’s South East coast is renowned for its vast sandy beaches and breaking waves providing a paradise for surfers, tourists, divers and fishermen but to try and maintain stability within this system of varying periodicity requires a deep understanding of the coastal processes involved. This presentation describes a PhD in progress by the author measuring coastal parameters and describes some of the observed processes. Offshore field measurements are presented taken during two data collection campaigns, a two year baseline survey for a local desalination plant and a two year study collecting baseline meteorological and oceanographic data for a proposed dive site attraction. Results show the local ocean systems are complex relationships between understood mechanisms and yet to be determined processes. The area is dominated by a south east wind and swell and sediment transport is generally northward, infilling the creeks and rivers necessitating constant dredging and sand nourishment of the beaches. However, even with a small tidal range, high energy events have been identified between EAC sub-mesoscale eddies, baroclinic internal tides and shoaling internal waves that appear to affect turbidity and adversely affect water quality. These transitional and seasonal phenomena show temperature stratification may be a controlling factor. Short term chaotic processes, such as cyclones and storm surges are shown to be influential plus the presenter has hypothesised that northward migrating internal waves, travelling along the thermocline from the Bass Straits Cascade, may be deflected up the Tweed Canyon bringing fine sediments and high nutrient loading into the local waters. Future studies hope to further illuminate the effect of these complex systems on water quality, sediment transport and coastal ecosystems enabling best management policies be implemented with an in depth knowledge of the physical processes at work in the area.
Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) 2013