Torrey Pines State Beach experienced extensive erosion during El Niño. (Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
A study recently completed by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography has measured erosion’s impacts on San Diego beach sand over the last seven winters. Erosion is a major concern when it comes to beach management, one that could become heightened in a future with predicted sea rises.
Researchers used GPS receivers strapped to all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) as well as jet skis to document the changing slopes of the beaches. This led to several key findings, notably that the two most recent El Niño events were the most erosive to beach sand. In addition, beaches that had been supplemented with coarser varieties of sand appeared to stand up better to erosion over time.
Torrey Pines State Beach, which didn’t receive extra sand in a 2009 – 2010 study period, was an exception. By comparison to the 2015 – 2016 period, the beach saw slightly more erosion in the later term.
Full results of the effort are published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Top image: Torrey Pines State Beach experienced extensive erosion during El Niño. (Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography)