- In 1996, Beach et al. first proposed the idea of mounting an echo-sounder on a
Waverunner to measure nearshore beach profiles. This thesis discusses the Coastal Profiling
System, an extension of the original work, which has been utilized to measure nearshore
bathymetry at selected sites along the coasts of North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.
Position of the Coastal Profiling System is accurately measured five times per second using a
differential global positioning system (DGPS), while depth below the hull is measured by an
acoustic echo-sounder. Surveys can be conducted in waves up to 3 m and in depths of 1-15 m.
The effects of waves, tides, and set-up are eliminated by the co-collection of position and depth
In October 1997, extensive testing of the system took place at the SandyDuck '97 field
experiment in Duck, NC. Nearshore bathymetric surveys were taken simultaneously by the
Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy (CRAB) and the Coastal Profiling System (CPS).
Comparison of the CPS with CRAB measurements interpolated to the same locations showed a
mean bias of 4.6 cm too shallow in the vertical and standard deviations about the bias of 5.5 cm.
The largest differences occur over the steeply sloping flanks of sand bars. The bias statistic, of
central interest to these tests, is confused by the potential of boat tilt and by possible errors in the
CRAB data itself.
In July & August 1998, the system was tested as a tool for long-term coastal monitoring
by the Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study in a regional morphology monitoring
program (Ruggiero et al., 1997). A 2-3 km section in approximately the center of each of the four sub-cells of the Columbia River littoral cell, and an anomalous fifth site, was surveyed to map the morphology of each region. Alongshore-averaged profiles were decomposed into underlying AX[superscript m] profiles and deviations from this equilibrium profile. The mean of the exponents was close to 2/3 with m=0.70, but ranged between sites from 0.56 to 0.79. Shape parameters between 0.027 and 0.038 were estimated. Nearshore slopes (0-1 km cross-shore) were calculated from the exponential profile in the dissipative range with a minimum of 0.0067 and a maximum of 0.0089. However, no correlation was seen between the shape parameters and the 1 km nearshore slopes.
An analysis of the deviations of the alongshore-averaged profiles from the equilibrium profile provided an objective method to determine sand bar positions from zero-down-crossings. Each site was characterized by a minimum of two sand bars in 2-6.5 m (NAVD 88) depths with heights of 0.2-2 m, lengths of 164-949 m and volumes of 48-534 m³/m. An additional bar in the swash zone between the +1 m elevation and 1 m depth contour was resolved in some cross-shore profiles. The crest of the bar largest in height was located at 3-4.5 NAVD 88 m at four of the five sites suggesting the profiles vary on similar cross-shore length scales amongst the sub-cells.
A series of surveys in April, June, and October 1998 at the northern most site in Ocean City, WA demonstrated onshore bar migration and seaward accretion of the foreshore. This seasonal response was further quantified between August and October at Fort Canby. Three nearshore profiles surveyed by Willard Bascom et al. (1954) in the 1940s were reoccupied to compare the shape of the morphology 50 years ago to present. These profiles demonstrate accretion of approximately 2 m elevation gains in the nearshore and 26-165 m of shoreline change.
Although the Coastal Profiling System is a highly accurate, mobile and efficient method to obtain nearshore profiles, several improvements have been suggested. Future modifications to the system should include an increase in the precision of the echo-sounder measurements, higher sampling rates, and improvement of the user interface. Additional components may include an onboard navigation system, a thermister to measure temperature and salinity, and a motion sensor to measure roll and pitch of the vehicle.