Inlet Dynamics Initiative: Algarve (INDIA)

Stormy seas in the Ancao inlet
Stormy seas in the Ancao inlet ©

INDIA aimed to gain a better understanding of the interactions between tides, waves, currents and sedimentary processes at work in the European coastal zone and to be able to predict change.

To achieve these aims it was necessary to carry out an extensive field campaign.

Who ran the project?

The project was coordinated by Professor B O’Connor (now retired) of the Department of Civil Engineering, University of Liverpool. It was funded by the European Commission through the Marine Science and Technology (MAST) III programme and involved scientists and support staff from academic institutes, EU government research laboratories and private companies. The fieldwork campaign was managed by Dr J Williams of the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and BODC was responsible for the management of all data from the project.

Where did the fieldwork take place?

The INDIA project identified tidal inlet entrances and neighbouring coastlines as being dynamic, natural features especially suited for such a study as they are sufficiently active to result in measurable changes in a short period of time.

The fieldwork activities were centred on the tidal inlet within the Peninsula do Ancao, Ria Formosa National Park, Algarve, Portugal. This inlet accounts for approximately 10% of the total tidal flow between the Ria Formosa lagoon and the sea and is approximately 200 m wide.

The area is a completely natural coastal system. This consists of a large tidal lagoon, bounded on the seaward side by seven major barrier islands. The area has an open ocean coast characterised by wave heights in the range 1-4 m and wave periods in the range 6-16 seconds. Tidal elevations fall within the range 2-4 m.

What measurements were collected?

The fieldwork was concentrated between January 1999 to March 1999. Some parts of data collection began before this period. The video camera remained in operation until January 2000. The types of data collection activities fell into the following categories

  • Offshore waves, currents and turbidity
  • Radar systems measuring waves and currents
  • Inshore, offshore and lagoon bathymetry
  • Beach experiments investigating processes in the surf zone, including along-shore sediment transport and wave run-up
  • Meteorology
  • Aolian transport over the beach
  • Inlet mouth sediment transport, currents and wave interactions
  • Daily images of the inlet and nearby coast from the video tower
  • Tidal fluctuations and currents in the lagoon

Data management goals

Our main goals were to facilitate easy exchange of data sets between project participants and to archive and publish the data.

Copies of a limited edition set of four CDROMs were distributed to project participants

  • CD1 — Bathymetry, moored instruments and tidal predictions
  • CD2 — Radar systems, ACDP surveys, 'Jack-up' barge and beach experiments
  • CD3 — Video tower images
  • CD4 — Aerial survey, seabed photographs and field campaign images

The contents of the CDROM set are now available to the wider public on a DVD.

Data from the offshore moored instrument array and the pressure gauges located in the tidal inlet have been incorporated into the BODC National Oceanographic Database (NODB) and are available on request from the BODC Enquiries Officer.

European Commission Marine Science and Technology