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Research Technical Report

Changes to Monterey Bay Beaches from the end of the 1982-83 El Niño through the 1997-98 El Niño

Dingler, J.R. and T.E. Reiss (2002)

Marine Geology 181:249-263


The shoreline of Monterey Bay, CA, USA demarcates the landward extent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Along the length of that shoreline, nine beaches were profiled 34 times between 1983 and 1998. The resulting data set provides an understanding of processes that affect beach volume, width, and shape. Monterey Bay, which is open to high-energy waves generated in the pacific ocean, comprises a range of beach environments that respond in a dramatic way to major storms such as the anomalously large El Niños in 1982-83 and 1997-98. This study relates the profile characteristics of the beaches to storminess, shoreline location, and geomorphic setting. Because the large El Niños occurred at the start and end of the study, the surveys cover both periods of nearly constant beach size and periods of extreme erosion, and the data show both the extent of erosion and accretion and the nature of the transition between the two periods.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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