This research compiles beach profiling data obtained yearly between 1999 and 2016 and indicates annual changes in the beach morphology of three beaches on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The profiles provide a visualization of the effect of different hydrodynamic regimes present on each beach. The beaches surveyed are each affected differently by wind- and wave-energy regimes, resulting from their associated offshore environments and geographical location on the island. Rocky Point Beach is located on the northwestern side of San Salvador and is sheltered from the northwesterly winds and waves associated with cold fronts during the winter season, thus allowing the beach to remain in a relatively stable state since 1999. East Beach, located on the eastern side of San Salvador, is a moderately-low-energy beach, resulting from the presence of an algal ridge 200 meters offshore that acts as a wave breaker. East Beach is predominantly affected by waves associated with the NE trade winds as well as hurricanes. These alter the beach’s morphology and allow it to build out into the shallow environments offshore. The third and final beach examined in this study is Sandy Point Beach. Located on the southwestern side of the island, this highly-exposed beach is affected by both the trade winds during the summer months and northwesterly winds and longshore currents that flow down the western side of the island during the winter. The research presented here shows 1) the influence of beach location on geomorphology; 2) yearly “normal” variation in beach morphology; and 3) the effect of major hurricane events, specifically Hurricanes Frances (2004) and Joaquin (2015), on the beach systems.
Elena Skosey-LaLonde, ’17
Sponsor: Benjamin Greenstein