The Application of X-Band Radar for Characterisation of Nearshore Dynamics on a Mixed Sand and Gravel Beach

Authors: Atkinson, J., Esteves, L., Williams, J.J., McCann, D.L. and Bell, P.S.

Editors: Shim, J.S., Chun, I. and Lim, H.S.

Start date: 13 May 2018

Journal: Journal of coastal research

Volume: 1

Issue: 85

Pages: 281-285

Publisher: Coastal Education & Research Foundation, Inc.

ISSN: 0749-0208

DOI: 10.2112/SI85-001.1

Remote sensing using X-band radar allows the estimation of wave parameters, near surface currents and the underlying bathymetry. This paper explores the use of radar to derive nearshore bathymetry at a complex site, at Thorpeness in Suffolk, UK. The site has a history of sporadic and focused erosion events along the beach frontage and as part of the X-Com project (X-band Radar and Evidence-Based Coastal Management Decisions) a radar system was deployed with the aim of further understanding the complex nearshore sediment processes influencing erosion. Initially, the bathymetric variation at the site is quantified through analysis of current and historic multibeam surveys. These indicate depth changes approaching 3 m. Subsequently, validation of the radar data against concurrent multibeam survey data has been undertaken. Results show that the radar derived bathymetry has a precision of ±1m at the site, with the largest errors being associated with areas of more complex bathymetry and where wave data quality was less suitable for analysis by the X-band radar bathymetry algorithms. It is concluded that although the accuracy of radar-derived bathymetry is lower than traditional multibeam survey, the low cost for high temporal coverage can be utilised for long-term monitoring of coastal sites where a cost-effective means of quantifying large-scale bathymetric changes is required.

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