Abstract

Shoreline and ebb channel evolution between 1834 and 2008 was recorded at three embayed beaches in northwest Ireland with historically stable relative sea level. The beaches are geologically constrained within bedrock valleys and have minimal contemporary sediment input. Their behavior is strongly influenced by tidal-inlet dynamics of adjacent estuaries; major observed changes in shoreline position are linked to fluctuations in inlet ebb-channel orientation. Comparison of the available historical record of geomorphological change with instrumental and proxy climate records suggests that inlet changes may be driven by fluctuations in average storminess: periods of high storminess perturb the inlet system, causing major changes in ebb-channel configuration, after which sediment redistribution returns the system to its former state over a prolonged period (years to decades).

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