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Morphodynamic equilibria in short tidal basins using a 2DH exploratory model
Boelens, T.; Qi, T.; Schuttelaars, H.; De Mulder, T. (2021). Morphodynamic equilibria in short tidal basins using a 2DH exploratory model. JGR: Earth Surface 126(3): e2020JF005555.
In: Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface. AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION: Washington. ISSN 2169-9003; e-ISSN 2169-9011, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    continuation method; exploratory model; finite element method; morphodynamic equilibria; tidal basin

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    A depth-averaged (2DH) exploratory model is developed to identify morphodynamic equilibria in short mesotidal inlet systems with arbitrary planform geometries. The water motion is forced by an M 2 tidal constituent at the seaward entrance and is described by the depth-averaged shallow water equations, whereas the depth-integrated suspended sediment concentration follows from a diffusion equation, taking into account local inertia, horizontal eddy diffusion and topographically induced diffusive effects, erosion, and deposition. Based on a scaling analysis, it follows that the fine sandy bed evolution is dominated by the depth-integrated diffusive sediment transport. The depth-integrated advective contributions are one order smaller and therefore neglected. This observation also allows for the neglect of the advective terms in the governing equations. The associated morphodynamic equilibria are directly identified based on a continuation approach. By means of the exploratory model, the morphodynamic equilibria are studied in basins with a planform geometry characterized by width variations as a function of the distance to the seaward boundary. The model results show that in the case of a sufficient degree of widening in the landward direction, the equilibrium bed level exhibits significant lateral structures, characterized by shallow zones and deeper channels. The first channel bifurcation, as observed in many short tidal inlet systems, is forced by the planform geometry of the basin, and the associated physical mechanisms are explained. Furthermore, two mechanisms inducing asymmetric morphodynamic equilibria are investigated, of which the effect of an asymmetric basin planform seems to be dominant over that of the Coriolis force.

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