AN in-depth scientific study of coastal erosion and the movement of sediment along the coast of Dingle Bay was wrapped up recently in Annascaul with some of the country's top experts in this area of research obtaining data that could prove vital in terms of erosion, flood mitigation and planning policy in the future.
According to Waterville native and research engineer at the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre in University College Cork, Michael O'Shea, the Dingle Bay Radar Project was a six-week trial which sought to measure wave statistics and gather up-to-date scientific data from Dingle Bay.
"The project utilised Wave Radar system WERA to record wave heights and directions and surface currents over the area," Project Manager Michael explained. "We had stations in Bunanear, near Annascaul, on the northern side of Dingle Bay and in Kells on the southern side."
The project was commissioned in response to the large scale erosion that has been occurring on Rossbeigh Beach over the past five years.
"A section of the beach has been eroded and the dunes have been breached," Mr O'Shea explained. "The wave radar will provide data that will increase the understanding of coastal processes in Dingle Bay... This is vital to predicting the future of Rossbeigh and the Dingle Bay area in terms of erosion, flood mitigation and planning policy."
Mr O'Shea and a team of engineers from UCC and MARTEK, including Keith O'Sullivan from Kenmare, wrapped up their data collection in Annascaul at the beginning of December. They are now compiling information gathered in order to draw conclusions.
According to Michael, some interesting trends have already been identified, in so far as that while Rossbeigh is losing sand; the Inch side seems to be somehow maintaining its coastal capacity.
"We also think that much of the sand that has been removed may be re-deposited again," he said, "but all the data needs to be correlated before conclusions can be drawn".
The Dingle Bay Radar Project is being managed by the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre of UCC.