Annual field surveys conducted at Ponta do Ouro in Southern Mozambique have determined that coastal variability is driven by high wave energy and consequent northward longshore drift. There is a log-spiral headland-bay system marked by 80 m tall forested dunes in the south that give way to a broad flat sandy beach. Marine climate processes that affect coastal erosion and accretion are studied using local and remote data sets. Since surveys began, the climate has undergone a prolonged dry spell (2002-2007) followed by increased run-off and easterly winds (2010-2013) that have re-built the beaches. Sand grain sizes vary from 240 - 410 ïm (coarser south – finer north) and are mobilized by frequent longshore wind events > 10 m/s. Ocean drifters reveal a northward current in the outer surf zone of 0.6 m/s and an onshore gyre of 0.1 m/s in the recessed bay. Wave-driven sand transport is estimated at 5 106 kg/yr/m. While the upper beach has flattened due to pedestrian traffic and urban development, the lower beach has recovered from erosion due to a greater frequency of easterly waves and rainy weather.
Key words: Beach, coastal erosion, marine climate.