Within the two major theories of the generation of rhythmic shoreline features, the earlier one relates to edge waves, whereas the one developed later perceives shoreline rhythmic forms as effects of self-organized shoreline behavior. This study focused on identification of infragravity waves (edge waves) and periodic components of shoreline configuration and searched for their potential relationships in the mildly sloping, sandy south Baltic coast. The objective was not to suggest which theory better describes shoreline rhythmic features but was chosen for an empirical assessment of possible links between the generation of rhythmic morphological beach forms and specific infragravity waves motion at a dissipative shore.
The investigated area features a gently sloping seabed with several bars inducing multiple breakers, which can be classified as a dissipative beach. Field measurements were taken during two periods lasting several months each. Long records of water table oscillations, nearshore currents, and measurements of shoreline configurations were analyzed using various signal processing techniques, incorporating traditional spectral analysis and the modern statistical techniques of singular spectrum analysis and discrete wavelet transform.
The measurements revealed two clearly visible infragravity components with periods Tk = 30–40 seconds and Tk = 100–120 seconds at a dissipative south Baltic beach with multiple bars. They were detected by all three methods employed in the study. Additionally, less pronounced components were identified with periods Tk = 180 seconds and Tk = 10–12 seconds. The analysis of variability of the shoreline shape found periodic components with wavelengths ranging between several and several hundred meters and more. Results of this study also suggest that there are links between infragravity waves and rhythmic shoreline forms in a dissipative shore with multiple bars.