Abstract

Surface Synoptic Meteorological Observations (SSMO-data) provide the primary data source for this analysis of the regional wave climate of the Gulf of Alaska. The wave climate is expressed in terms of deep water wave power, which, when combined with wave refraction diagrams derived from the most recent bathymetric map of the area, permits the estimation of gross and net annual sediment transport rates along the ocean-facing beaches. The wave analysis indicates a general westward transport of sediments on the beaches of the northeast Gulf of Alaska, a trend well supported by field observations of coastal geomorphology. Both the wave climate calculations and field observations confirm a reversal in this trend on the west side of Icy Bay and Yakutat Bay where the net transport direction is toward the northeast or toward the bay heads. The potential annual average gross longshore sediment transport rate is estimated at about 2.0 million cubic meters along the ocean beaches. The annual net transport rate is found to range from about 1.4 million cubic meters to the west on the West Malaspina Foreland, to about 220,000 cubic meters to the east between Sitkagi Bluffs and the western shores of outer Yakutat Bay.

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