Influence of beach grain size and bed slope on nearshore hydro- and morpho-dynamics

Two major parameters that determine the beach type are sediment grain size and beach slope. Intermediate beaches normally have steep slopes and are associated with coarse-grained sands and narrow surf zones, while dissipative beaches generally have mild slopes and are related to fine sands and wider surf zones. In numerical experiments, the Delft3D and Xbeach models were combined to resolve the 3D Navier-Stokes equations for incompressible flow and beach morphology. The sediment transport module supports both bed-load and suspended load transport of non-cohesive sediments. Numerical simulations were run for different hydrodynamic conditions, but with a focus on different beach slopes and grain sizes, and considering hydrodynamic processes, sediment transport in cross- and alongshore directions, as well as foreshore bathymetry changes. Larger grain sizes tend to generate more complex nearshore hydrodynamic patterns. The transformation of incoming waves as they reach shallow water occurs closer the shoreline for steeper profiles. Consistently, the peaks in eddy viscosity, turbulence dissipation rate (TDR), turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) and wave set-up are shifted onshore for steeper slopes. High values of eddy viscosity, TKE and wave set-up are spread offshore for coarser grain sizes. The TDR is an order of magnitude smaller for the coarsest grains compared with other cases. The numerical results showed that TKE, sediment concentrations and sediment transport rate are greater on steep beaches than on mildly sloped beaches. The beach morphology exhibits different erosive characteristics depending on grain size (e.g., foreshore profile evolution is erosive and accretionary on fine and coarse sand beaches, respectively). The results confirmed that wave energy, beach grain size and bed slope are the main factors influencing sediment transport and beach morphodynamics.

Presented at:
2012 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union,, San Francisco, California, USA, December 3-7, 2012

 Record created 2012-12-10, last modified 2018-09-13

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