Hydrodynamics and Sediment Dynamics of Tidal Inlets

Hydrodynamics and Sediment Dynamics of Tidal Inlets

Editor(s): David G. Aubrey, Lee Weishar

Published Online: 23 MAR 2013

Print ISBN: 9783540968887

Online ISBN: 9781118669242

DOI: 10.1029/LN029

About this Book

Published by the American Geophysical Union as part of the Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies Series, Volume 29.

Along the majority of the coastline of the United States and much of the shoreline of the world, tidal inlets play an important role in nearshore processes. Tidal inlets provide the link between the coastal oceans and the protected embayments behind them, exchanging water, sediments, nutrients, planktonic organisms, and pollutants between them. Because they interrupt the continuity of shoreline processes, inlets play a major role in sediment budgets and shoreline erosion. In addition, these tidal inlets are critical resources because they are the interfaces for the world's coasts; proper management of these features is essential to preserve the delicate equilibrium of the open shorelines and protected bays. When new inlets form or old inlets close off, significant environmental hazards may be posed. Inlets prone to closure limit the exchange of oxygen and nutrients between the ocean and embayment, resulting in a degradation in water quality. When a new inlet forms, drastic changes in shoreline configuration often result, an excellent example of which was the formation in January, 1987, of a new inlet at Chatham, Massachusetts, which resulted in a reorientation of the inner and outer coasts of the embayment with consequent economic impacts (see Giese, this volume). The behavior of these highly ephemeral inlets can have dramatic environmental, social, and economic impacts.

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