Big Beach, Little Beach

Seasons, storms and construction all affect shore size
BY: CALEB HOOGLAND

Have you ever noticed the beaches in Los Cabos seem to change every so often? Sand comes and sand goes with every crashing wave, which eventually takes its toll on the beach itself. Beaches aren’t inanimate objects; they’re more like plants, whose size and condition changes with the absence or presence of water.

The transformation of beaches can happen multiple times a year but everything is relative to weather, changes in climate, storms, wave height and frequency, and currents, along with a variety of other factors. Most beaches go through transitions as seasons change, causing them to appear different during the summer and winter months. In general, summer beaches typically feature a well-developed berm (which is like a small sand plateau that is slightly above the water level) and the sand level is higher.

Winter beaches typically have much less sand compared to those of the summer. Storms and the height of wave are usually higher during the winter which pulls sand away from the shore. Then the calmer summer waves bring the sand back to the shore. Since no two seasons are the same, and climate tendencies vary by geographical location, the results can be noticeably different depending on location and season.

Waves, currents, and tides are all natural causes for beach transitions. And natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes and storms also can take a serious toll on beaches. For example, Hurricane Odile in 2014 changed our beaches drastically in just a matter of hours. The heavy wind and rain caused many tons of sand to be redistributed and carried elsewhere, eroding the beaches.

Another thing that can affect the beaches? Us meddling humans. No surprise, sand is frequently moved around, added or extracted for construction purposes (like all those new resorts that are going up along the fourlane).