Skip to main content

Mapping Shoreline Variability of Two Barrier Island Segments Along the Florida Coast

Abstract

Recent projections of global climate change necessitate improved methodologies that quantify shoreline variability. Updated analyses of shoreline movement provide important information that can aid and inform likely intervention policies. This paper uses the Analyzing Moving Boundaries Using R (AMBUR) technique to evaluate shoreline change trends over the time period 1856 to 2015. Special emphasis was placed on recent rates of change, during the 1994 to 2015 period of active storm conditions. Small segments, on the order of tens of kilometers, along two sandy barrier island regions on Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts were chosen for this study. The overall average rate of change over the 159-year period along Little St. George Island was − 0.62 ± 0.12 m/year, with approximately 65% of shoreline segments eroding and 35% advancing. During periods of storm clustering (1994–2015), retreat rates along portions of this Gulf coast barrier accelerated to − 5.49 ± 1.4 m/year. Along the northern portion of Merritt Island on Florida’s Atlantic coast, the overall mean rate of change was 0.22 ± 0.08 m/year, indicative of a shoreline in a state of relative dynamic equilibrium. In direct contrast with the Gulf coast shoreline segment, the majority of transects (65%) evaluated along the oceanfront of Merritt Island over the long term displayed a seaward advance. Results indicate that episodes of clustered storm activity with fairly quick return intervals generally produce dramatic morphological alteration of the coast and can delay natural beach recovery. Additionally, the data show that tidal inlet dynamics, shoreline orientation, along with engineering projects, act over a variety of spatial and temporal scales to influence shoreline evolution. Further, the trends of shoreline movement observed in this study indicate that nearshore bathymetry—the presence of shoals—wields some influence on the behavior of local segments of the shoreline.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15

References

  • Absalonsen, L., and R.G. Dean. 2011. Characteristics of the shoreline change along Florida sandy beaches with an example for Palm Beach county. Journal of Coastal Research 27 (6A): 16–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brooks, H.K. 1972. Geology of Cape Canaveral. In: Space age geology, 16th Field Conference Southeastern Geological Society, Tallahassee, Florida, pp. 35–44.

  • Browder, A.E., and R.G. Dean. 2000. Monitoring and comparison to predictive models of the Perdido key beach nourishment project, Florida, USA. Coastal Engineering 39 (2): 173–191.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chaki, S. 1974. Study of beach-ridges, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Coastal Research Notes 4 (2): 5–7.

    Google Scholar 

  • Church, J.A., and N.J. White. 2011. Sea-level rise from the late 19th to the early 21st century. Surveys in Geophysics 32 (4): 585–602.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Claudino-Sales, V., P. Wang, and M.H. Horwitz. 2008. Factors controlling the survival of coastal dunes during multiple hurricane impacts in 2004 and 2005: Santa Rosa barrier island, Florida. Geomorphology 95 (3): 295–315.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Claudino-Sales, V., Wang, P., and Horwitz, M.H. 2010. Effect of hurricane Ivan on coastal dunes of Santa Rosa barrier island, Florida: characterized on the basis of Pre-poststorm LIDAR surveys. Journal of Coastal Reseearch 26: 470–784.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Corbett, D.R., K. Dillon, W. Burnett, and G. Schaefer. 2002. The spatial variability of nitrogen and phosphorus concentration in a sand aquifer influenced by onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems: A case study on St. George Island, Florida. Environmental Pollution 117 (2): 337–345.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crowell, M., and S.P. Leatherman. 1999. Coastal erosion mapping and management. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 28: 196.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crowell, M., S.P. Leatherman, and M.K. Buckley. 1991. Historical shoreline change; error analysis and mapping accuracy. Journal of Coastal Research 7: 839–852.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, R.A., Jr. 1997. Regional coastal morphodynamics along the United States Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Coastal Research 13: 595–604.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dean, R.G. and O’Brien, M.P. 1987. Florida’s East Coast inlets: Shoreline effects and recommended action. University of Florida, Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering Department Report No. 87/017, 65 p.

  • Dolan, R., and Davis, R. E. 1992. An intensity scale for Atlantic coast northeast storms. Journal of Coastal Research 8:840–853.

  • Dolan R., Anders F., and Kimball S. 1985. Coastal Erosion and Accretion (map). USGS National Atlas of the United States, US Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, Reston, VA, 1 sheet. Retrieved from http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/c1075/us.html. Accessed 19th March 2013

  • Dolan, R., Fenster, M. S., and Holme, S. J. 1991 Temporal analysis of shoreline recession and accretion. Journal of Coastal Research 7(3):723–744.

  • Donoghue, J. F., and Tanner, W. F. 1994. Effects of near-term sedimentologic evolution on the lifetime of estuarine resources. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS-SRD-27, 57 p.

  • Elsner, J.B., J.P. Kossin, and T.H. Jagger. 2008. The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones. Nature 455 (7209): 92–95.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). (2004). Bathymaps. Retrieved from ftp://ftp.dep.state.fl.us/pub/water/beaches/HSSD/bathymaps. Accessed 6th March 2014

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) 2008. FDEP BBCS: critical erosion reports. Retrieved from FDEP BBCS Technical Reports: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/beaches/publications/pdf7CritEroRpt6. Accessed 16th November 2014

  • Florida Department of Natural Resources. 1983. Cape St. George State Reserve management plan. 109 pp.

  • Foster, E. R., and Cheng, J. 2001. Shoreline change rate estimates Franklin County. Report No. BCS-01-03. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems. Retrieved from http://www.dep.state.fl.us/beaches/publications/tech-rpt. Accessed 2nd December 2014

  • Foster, E. R., Spurgeon, D. L., and Cheng, J. 2000. Shoreline change rate estimates: St. Johns County. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Beaches and Coastal Systems.

  • Frazer, L.N., T.R. Anderson, and C.H. Fletcher. 2010. Correction to “modeling storms improves estimates of long-term shoreline change”. Geophysical Research Letters 37 (2): L02401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gens, R. 2010. Remote sensing of coastlines: Detection, extraction and monitoring. International Journal of Remote Sensing 31 (7): 1819–1836.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Genz, A.S., C.H. Fletcher, R.A. Dunn, L.N. Frazer, and J.J. Rooney. 2007. The predictive accuracy of shoreline change rate methods and alongshore beach variation on Maui, Hawaii. Journal of Coastal Research 231: 87–105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hapke, C.J., Himmelstoss, E.A., Kratzmann, M., List, J., Thieler, E.R. 2010a. National assessment of shoreline change. Historical shoreline change along the New England and mid-Atlantic coasts. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2010-1118.

  • Hapke, C.J., E.E. Lentz, P.T. Gayes, C.A. McCoy, R.E. Hehre, W.C. Schwab, and S.J. Williams. 2010b. A review of sediment budget imbalances along Fire Island, New York—Can nearshore geologic framework and patterns of shoreline change explain the deficit? Journal of Coastal Research 26: 510–522.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hayes, M. O., Kana, T. W., and Barwis, J. H. 1980. Soft designs for coastal protection at Seabrook Island, SC. Coastal Engineering Proceedings of the 17th Coastal Engineering Conference, ASCE, New York, 897-912.

  • Hess, K. W., Spargo, E., Wong, A., White, S. A., and Gill, S. K. 2005. VDatum for coastal North Carolina: Tidal datums, marine grids, and sea surface topography. NOAA Tech Rep NOS CS 21, 56 pp.

  • Honeycutt, M.G., and D.E. Krantz. 2003. Influence of the geologic framework on spatial variability in long-term shoreline change, cape Henlopen to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Journal of Coastal Research: 147–167.

  • Houser, C., C. Hapke, and S. Hamilton. 2008. Controls on coastal dune morphology, shoreline erosion and barrier island response to extreme storms. Geomorphology 100 (3-4): 223–240.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Houston, J.R., and R.G. Dean. 2014. Shoreline change on the East Coast of Florida. Journal of Coastal Research 30 (4): 647–660.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IPCC. 2014. Climate Change 2013: The physical science basis. In Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ed. J.A. Church, P.U. Clark, A. Cazenave, J.M. Gregory, S. Jevrejeva, A. Levermann, M.A. Merrifield, G.A. Milne, R.S. Nerem, P.D. Nunn, A.J. Payne, W.T. Pfeffer, D. Stammer, and A.S. Unnikrishnan. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jackson, C.W. 2004. Quantitative shoreline change analysis of and inlet-influenced transgressive barrier system: Figure eight island, North Carolina. Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, North Carolina, 95pp.

  • Jackson, C.W., C.R. Alexander, and D.M. Bush. 2012. Application of the AMBUR R package for spatio-temporal analysis of shoreline change: Jekyll Island, Georgia, USA. Computers and Geosciences 41: 199–207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Keim, B.D., R.A. Muller, and G.W. Stone. 2007. Spatiotemporal patterns and return periods of tropical storm and hurricane strikes from Texas to Maine. Journal of Climate 20 (14): 3498–3509.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kish, S.A., and J.F. Donoghue. 2013. Coastal response to storms and sea-level rise: Santa Rosa Island, Northwest Florida, USA. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 63: 131–140.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Leadon, M. E. 1999. Beach, dune and offshore profile response to a severe storm event. In: Coastal Sediments, pp. 2534–2549. ASCE.

  • Masselink, G., and van Heteren, S. 2014. Response of wave-dominated and mixed-energy barriers to storms. Marine Geology 352: 321–347.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • May, S.K., R. Dolan, and B.P. Hayden. 1983. Erosion of US shorelines. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 64 (35): 521–523.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mazzer, A., and S. Dillenburg. 2009. Shoreline temporal variations on sandy beaches dominated southeastern waves of the island of Santa Catarina (Florianópolis, SC, Brazil). Research in Geosciences 36 (1): 117–135.

    Google Scholar 

  • Meehl, G.A., C. Covey, T. Delworth, M. Latif, B. McAvaney, J. Mitchell, et al. 2007. The WCRP CMIP3 multi-model dataset: A new era in climate change research. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 88 (9): 1383–1394.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miller, T.L., Morton, R.A., Sallenger, A., and Moore, L.J. 2004. The national assessment of shoreline change: A GIS compilation of vector sand associated shoreline change data for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report USGS OFR 2004-1089. URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1089/

  • Morang, A. 1992. Inlet migration and hydraulic processes at east pass, Florida. Journal of Coastal Research 8 (2): 457–481.

    Google Scholar 

  • Morton, R. A., and Miller, T. L. 2005. National assessment of shoreline change: Part 2: Historical shoreline changes and associated coastal land loss along the U.S. Southeast Atlantic Coast. U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report 2005-1401. URL: http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1401/

  • Morton, R.A., and Sallenger, A.H. 2003. Morphological impacts of extreme storms on sandybeaches and barriers. Journal of Coastal Research 19: 560–573.

  • Mousavi, M.E., J.L. Irish, A.E. Frey, F. Olivera, and B.L. Edge. 2011. Global warming and hurricanes: The potential impact of hurricane intensification and sea level rise on coastal flooding. Climate Change 104 (3-4): 575–597.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • National Ocean Service 2017. Published tidal benchmark sheets. Retrieved from https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/map/index.shtml?region=Florida. Accessed 17 August 2017

  • Nebel, S.H., A.C. Trembanis, and D.C. Barber. 2011. Shoreline analysis and barrier island dynamics: Decadal scale patterns from Cedar Island, Virginia. Journal of Coastal Research 28 (2): 332–341.

    Google Scholar 

  • NOAA, (2011). Bench mark data sheets. Silver Spring, Maryland: NOAA National Ocean Service. Retrieved from: http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/station_retrieve.shtml?type=Bench+Mark+Data+Sheets. Accessed 25 October 2014.

  • NOAA-CSC. 2016. Historical hurricane tracks. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Coastal Services Center. Retrieved from https://www.coast.noaa.gov/hurricanes/. Accessed 19 September 2016

  • NOAA-LSA. 2017. Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry (NOAA/NESDIS/STAR/SOCD). Retrieved from https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/socd/lsa/SeaLevelRise/LSA_SLR_timeseries_regional.php http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/LSA_SLR_timeseries_global. Accessed 02 August 2017

  • Parker, B.B. 2003. The difficulties in measuring a consistently defined shoreline—The problem of vertical referencing. Journal of Coastal Research: 44–56.

  • Pries, A. J., Miller, D. L., and Branch, L. C. 2008. Identification of structural and spatial features that influence storm-related dune erosion along a barrier-island ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Coastal Research 24(3): 168–175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Priestas, A.M., and S. Fagherazzi. 2010. Morphological barrier island changes and recovery of dunes after hurricane Dennis, St. George Island, Florida. Geomorphology 114 (4): 614–626.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ranasinghe, R., D. Callaghan, and M.J. Stive. 2012. Estimating coastal recession due to sea level rise: Beyond the Bruun rule. Climatic Change 110 (3–4): 561–574.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Randazzo, A. F., and Jones, D. S. (Eds.). 1997. The geology of Florida. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida, 327 pp.

  • Reinson, G.E. 1992. Transgressive barrier island and estuarine systems. In Facies models: response to sea level change, ed. R.G. Walker and N.P. James, 179–194. St. Johns: Geological Association of Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, H. H., Huh, O. K., Hsu, S. A., Rouse, L. J., and Rickman, D. 1987. Impact of cold-front passages on geomorphic evolution and sediment dynamics of the complex Louisiana coast. In: Coastal sediments, pp. 1950–1963. ASCE.

  • Schmalzer, P. A., and Hinkle, C. R. 1992. Species composition and structure of oak-saw palmetto scrub vegetation. Castanea 57:220–251.

  • Shalowitz, A.L. 1964. Shore and sea boundaries, volume 2. U.S. Department of Commerce, Publication 10-1, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, DC, 749 p.

  • Stockdon, H.F., A.H. Sallenger, J.H. List, and R.A. Holman. 2002. Estimation of shoreline position and change from airborne topographic LIDAR data. Journal of Coastal Research 18: 502–513.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stone, G. W., Grymes III, J. M., Dingler, J. R., and Pepper, D. A. 1997. Overview and significance of hurricanes on the Louisiana coast, USA. Journal of Coastal Research 656–669.

  • Stone, G.W., B. Liu, D.A. Pepper, and P. Wang. 2004. The importance of extratropical and tropical cyclones on the short-term evolution of barrier islands along the northern Gulf of Mexico, USA. Marine Geology 210 (1): 63–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Strauss, B.H., R. Ziemlinski, J.L. Weiss, and J.T. Overpeck. 2012. Tidally adjusted estimates of topographic vulnerability to sea level rise and flooding for the contiguous United States. Environmental Research Letters 7 (1): 014033.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tebaldi, C., B.H. Strauss, and C.E. Zervas. 2012. Modeling sea level rise impacts on storm surges along US coasts. Environmental Research Letters 7 (1): 014032.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thieler, E. R., and Hammar-Klose, E. S. 2000. National assessment of coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise; preliminary results for the US Gulf of Mexico Coast (no. 2000-179).

  • Thieler, E. R., Himmelstoss, E. A., Zichichi, J. L., & Ergul, A. 2009. The Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) version 4.0—An ArcGIS extension for calculating shoreline change (no. 2008-1278). US Geological Survey.

  • Thieler, E.R., Smith, T.L., Knisel, J.M., and Sampson, D.W. 2013. Massachusetts shoreline change mapping and analysis project, 2013 update. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1189, 42 p., http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1189/.

  • Twichell, D.C., Flocks, J.G., Pendleton, E.A., and Baldwin, W.E. 2013. Geologic controls on regional and local erosion rates of three northern Gulf of Mexico barrier island systems. In: Brock, J.C.; Barras, J.A., and Williams, S.J. (eds.), Understanding and predicting change in the coastal ecosystems of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 63, pp. 32–45.

  • US Army Corps of Engineers. 1998. USACE, Jacksonville District: Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida, Volusia County Navigation Study Feasibility Report. 139 p.

  • Van Rijn, L.C. 2011. Coastal erosion and control. Ocean & Coastal Management 54 (12): 867–887.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Walton, T.L. 1973. Littoral drift computations along the coast of Florida by means of ship wave observations. Tech. Rept. 15, Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering Laboratory, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 97 pp. plus appendices.

  • Wang, P., J. H. Kirby, J.H., Haber, D.J., Horwitz, M.H., Knorr, P. O. and Krock, J. R. 2006. Morphological and sedimentological impacts of Hurricane Ivan and immediate post-storm recovery along the northwestern Florida barrier-island coasts. Journal of Coastal Research 22 (6),1382–1402.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Weber, K. M., J. H. List, and K. L. M. Morgan. 2005. An operational mean high water datum for determination of shoreline position from topographic LIDAR data, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2005–1027.

  • Zhang, K., B. Douglas, and S. Leatherman. 2002. Do storms cause long term beach erosion along the US East Barrier Coast? Journal of Geology 110 (4): 493–502.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ravi D. Sankar.

Additional information

Communicated by Mead Allison

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sankar, R.D., Donoghue, J.F. & Kish, S.A. Mapping Shoreline Variability of Two Barrier Island Segments Along the Florida Coast. Estuaries and Coasts 41, 2191–2211 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-018-0426-3

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-018-0426-3

Keywords

  • Barrier islands
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Shoreline change
  • Coastal erosion
  • Tropical storms
  • Coastal modeling