Speer Paul E.

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Paul E.

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  • Technical Report
    Beach changes at Nauset Inlet, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1670-1981
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1982-08) Speer, Paul E. ; Aubrey, David G. ; Ruder, E.
    A historical study of barrier beach and inlet changes for the Nauset Inlet region, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was performed to document patterns of beach and inlet change as a preliminary to designing and carrying out ffeld studies of inlet sediment transport. 120 historical charts from 1670 and 125 sets of aerial photographs from 1938 formed the basis for this study. Specific aspects of barrier beach and inlet change addressed include onshore barrier beach movement, longshore tidal inlet migration, and longshore sand bypassing past the inlet. In an effort to correlate forcing events with barrier changes, an exhaustive study of the local storm climate was performed. Detailed treatment of the specific mechanisms responsible for Nauset Inlet migration episodes in a direction opposite the dominant littoral drift are treated in a companion paper by Aubrey, Speer, and Ruder (1982). Documentation of the data base available for the Nauset Area is presented herein as appendices.
  • Technical Report
    Sediment transport in a tidal inlet
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1983-06) Aubrey, David G. ; Speer, Paul E.
    Various aspects of sediment transport in and around natural, unstructured tidal inlets were investigated over the two year period of study. Concentrating on two tidal inlets (Nauset Inlet and Popponesset Inlet, Cape Cod, MA), and combining detailed field observations with numerical model studies of tidal flows in inlet/estuarine environments, several aspects of tidal inlet behavior have been clarified. In addition, field work has resulted in a number of technical publications of general utility to a wide spectrum of coastal research interest. Primary scientific items addressed in this study include: 1) diagnostic numerical model of generation and propagation of tidal non-liniarities in shallow estuarine channels; 2) effects of flow curvature on tidal inlet sediment transport; 3) definition of mechanisms by which tidal inlets migrate in a direction opposite to the net littoral drift direction; 4) hypothesis of a mechanism for rapid barrier spit growth in locations with low rates of littoral transport; 5) clarification of long-term patterns of sea-level rise in the United States to assess its role in tidal inlet/esturarine evolution; 6) historical descriptions of massive inlet migration at two study inlets as supporting evidence for the inlet modeling studies. Technical information generated by the study includes a description of a low-cost, reliable method to join nearshore electrical cables; description and intercomparison of instrumentation and analysis routines for estimating directional spectral parameters from wave gage data; and development of a field system and laboratory analysis package for preparing accurate bathymetric charts in shallow, nearshore regions, using microwave navigation and precision echo-sounding.
  • Thesis
    Tidal distortion in shallow estuaries
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1984-03) Speer, Paul E.
    The offshore tide becomes distorted as it propagates into shallow inlet/estuarine systems. Time asymmetries develop in the rise and fall of sea surface with consequent time and magnitude asymmetries in tidal currents. Flood-dominant estuaries are characterized by longer falling tides and stronger flood currents while ebb-dominant estuaries have longer rising tides and stronger ebb currents. The asymmetries are reflected in the non-linear growth of harmonics and compound tides of the principal equilibrium tidal constituents. This dissertation consists of three papers which examine the development of tidal asymmetries in shallow estuarine systems: a study of the recent migration history of Nauset Inlet (MA), a shallow estuarine system located on Cape Cod; an analysis of the results of a series of field experiments conducted at Nauset; a numerical model study of the types of estuarine characteristics controlling tidal asymmetry. The analysis of field results focuses on sea surface measurements. Non-linear distortion of the tide at Nauset is characterized by the strong growth of harmonics and compound constituents particularly in the quarter-diurnal band. Phase relationships between the forced constituents and their parent produce a flood-dominant estuary. Numerical modeling of M2 tidal propagation in shallow estuarine channels utilizes the one-dimensional equations of motion. Shallow, frictionally dominated channels with moderate tidal flat area develop a flood-dominant asymmetry while deeper channels with extensive tidal flats develop an ebb-dominant asymmetry. Model results are supported by observations of tidal asymmetry in natural estuaries. Implications of non-linear tidal distortion on bedload and suspended material transport are profound. Flood-dominant estuaries tend to import sediment if the supply is adequate whereas ebb-dominant estuaries can flush entering sediment effectively. Over long time periods, flood-dominant estuaries may eventually fill. Ebb-dominant estuaries may represent more stable long-term configurations.