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Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Coastal Processes

Circulation Patterns and Geomorphic Change

Model outputs showing the ensemble significant wave heights in 1956 and 2005, and the difference; click to visit the source.
Ensemble significant wave height over the entire delta region in 1956 and 2005, and the difference. The lower panels are zoomed into Ocean Beach.

These scientific papers describe the movement patterns of sand and mud in San Francisco Bay, and changes in the shape of the the sand and mud in San Francisco Bay.

Understanding processes controlling sediment transports at the mouth of a high-energetic inlet system (San Francisco Bay, CA), Elias, E.P.L., Hansen, J.E., Marine Geology, 2013,

  • A coupled wave, flow and sediment transport model was setup for San Francisco Bay
  • The calibrated and validated models show good agreement with field observations
  • Inlet sediment transport is tide and ebb dominated
  • Sediment transfer from ebb-tidal delta to the inlet and into the bay is limited
  • Wave focusing results in large sediment transports at Ocean Beach

Changes in surf zone morphodynamics driven by multi-decadal contraction of a large ebb-tidal delta, Hansen, J.E., Elias, E., Barnard, P.L., Marine Geology, 2013,

  • Contraction of an ebb delta has altered surfzone currents at an adjacent shoreline
  • The change in currents has led to a corresponding change in sediment transport
  • Differences in predicted transport are consistent with observed shoreline rotation


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Path: coastal_processes/sfbsm/circulation.html
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Page Last Modified: 21 March 2014 (lzt)