Directional dependency and coastal framework geology: implications for barrier island resilience Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract. Barrier island transgression is influenced by the alongshore variation in beach and dune morphology, which determines the amount of sediment moved landward through wash-over. While several studies have demonstrated how variations in dune morphology affect island response to storms, the reasons for that variation and the implications for island management remain unclear. This paper builds on previous research by demonstrating that paleo-channels in the irregular framework geology can have a directional influence on alongshore beach and dune morphology. The influence of relict paleo-channels on beach and dune morphology on Padre Island National Seashore, Texas, was quantified by isolating the long-range dependence (LRD) parameter in autoregressive fractionally integrated moving average (ARFIMA) models, originally developed for stock market economic forecasting. ARFIMA models were fit across 250 unique spatial scales and a moving window approach was used to examine how LRD varied with computational scale and location along the island. The resulting LRD matrices were plotted by latitude to place the results in the context of previously identified variations in the framework geology. Results indicate that the LRD is not constant alongshore for all surface morphometrics. Many flares in the LRD plots correlate to relict infilled paleo-channels, indicating that the framework geology has a significant influence on the morphology of Padre Island National Seashore (PAIS). Barrier island surface morphology LRD is strongest at large paleo-channels and decreases to the north. The spatial patterns in LRD surface morphometrics and framework geology variations demonstrate that the influence of paleo-channels can be asymmetric (i.e., affecting beachdune morphology preferentially in one direction alongshore) where the alongshore sediment transport gradient was unidirectional during island development. The asymmetric influence of framework geology on coastal morphology has long-term implications for coastal management activities because it dictates the long-term behavior of a barrier island. Coastal management projects should first seek to assess the framework geology and understand how it influences coastal processes in order to more effectively balance long-term natural variability with short-term societal pressure.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Wernette, P. A., Houser, C., Weymer, B. A., Everett, M. E., Bishop, M. P., & Reece, B.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Wernette, Phillipe A||Houser, Chris||Weymer, Bradley A||Everett, Mark E||Bishop, Michael P||Reece, Bobby

publication date

  • January 2018