Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

Field measurements of wave characteristics on a near‐horizontal shore platform, Mahia Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand

Ogawa, H; Kench, P.; Dickson, M.
Journal / Source
Geographical Research
Abstract Waves are an important process responsible for the initiation and subsequent development of intertidal shore platforms. However, few field studies to date have described wave processes on shore platforms. A field experiment was conducted using an across‐shore array of wave gauges, including a directional sensor, on a near‐horizontal platform at Mahia Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand. Results show that the platform is very efficient in filtering wave energy at gravity wave frequencies (>0.05 Hz), with 40–80% reduction in wave height measured across the 140 m wide platform. By contrast, infragravity waves are present on the platform and increase in magnitude towards the cliff toe. Directional wave analysis indicates that wave reflection is mainly restricted to infragravity wave frequencies, demonstrating the differences in gravity and infragravity wave behaviour on the platform studied. Results indicate that, under fair weather conditions, the role of waves as an agent of cliff toe erosion is likely to be limited at present, although they are probably important for removing sediments accumulated at the cliff toe. The observed increase in infragravity wave energy towards the cliff toe implies that these long‐period waves may be important geomorphic agents on shore platforms.
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