Detailed hydrodynamic and morphological data are presented from a field deployment spanning 2 days (four tide cycles). The data include bed-elevation changes measured at each low tide and continuous records of water-surface elevation, cross-shore and long-shore current velocities, and suspended sediment concentrations all measured within 20 cm of the bed. During the deployment, an intertidal bar migrated onshore and infilled a runnel on its landward side. The depth of this runnel was initially 0.6 m. During the migration of the bar, the significant wave height in deep water was ca. 2 m and wave period was 7 seconds. The significant wave height over the intertidal bar crest was about 0.25 m. Suspended sediment fluxes were estimated (product of current velocity and suspended sediment concentration profile) and partitioned between mean and oscillatory components with the latter further partitioned between short and long wave contributions. When the bar was migrating shoreward and infilling the runnel, estimated suspended sediment flux for all components was directed landward on the bar crest. Once the migrating bar had infilled the runnel, however, the suspended sediment fluxes for the mean component were directed seaward, whereas the short wave-driven flux was still directed landward. These results represent a clear example of morphodynamic interactions—(a) as waves cross the intertidal bar the onshore mean and oscillatory components transport sediment shoreward, (b) the presence of the runnel reduces the offshore component of oscillatory transport by channeling the flow alongshore, (c) the runnel rapidly infills due to the strong transport asymmetry, (d) once the runnel has infilled, the mean cross-shore current and mean sediment flux reverse direction. When the runnel is present, the general intertidal circulation is a horizontal cell circulation with rip currents, whereas it becomes a vertical undertow circulation when the runnel has infilled.
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Vol. 2006 • No. 222