Beach Erosion along the West Coast of Aruba Netherlands Antilles


  • L.H.M. Kohsiek
  • C.H. Hulsbergen
  • J.H.J. Terwindt


Beach erosion, breaker zone, longshore current, sand transport, shore protection, swell wave regime, trade wind waves



Beach erosion along the west coast of Aruba was studied in order to design adequate protection measures for the resort beaches. Along the west coast of Aruba two different wave -induced longshore current systems can be distinguished. The first pattern refers to the normal east trade wind waves, refracted around the north and south capes and meeting at the utmost west point of the island. The second group of wave patterns is related to two different types of refracted swell waves, generated by hurricanes or storms tracking outside and inside the Caribbean Island Arch. As a result of these patterns there is a longshore sand transport in the breaker zone towards the west during the wind wave conditions and towards the east during the occasional swell wave events. In the long run there is a net sand movement towards the west. However, in the short run considerable eastward sand movement and severe beach erosion occur during the swell events. After such events the beach recovery by the wind wave system normally takes more time. Thus there is a delicate balance between both opposing phenomena. Based on the sand transport patterns and budgets several possible engineering measures to protect the beaches are briefly discussed.