Infoscience

Journal article

Impacts of wave and tidal forcing on 3D nearshore processes on natural beaches. Part II. Sediment transport

This is the second of two papers on the 3D numerical modeling of nearshore hydro- and morphodynamics. In Part I, the focus was on surf and swash zone hydrodynamics in the cross-shore and longshore directions. Here, we consider nearshore processes with an emphasis on the effects of oceanic forcing and beach characteristics on sediment transport in the cross- and longshore directions, as well as on foreshore bathymetry changes. The Delft3D and XBeach models were used with four turbulence closures (viz., k-ε, k-L, ATM and H-LES) to solve the 3D Navier-Stokes equations for incompressible flow as well as the beach morphology. The sediment transport module simulates both bed load and suspended load transport of non-cohesive sediments. Twenty sets of numerical experiments combining nine control parameters under a range of bed characteristics and incident wave and tidal conditions were simulated. For each case, the general morphological response in shore-normal and shore-parallel directions was presented. Numerical results showed that the k-ε and H-LES closure models yield similar results that are in better agreement with existing morphodynamic observations than the results of the other turbulence models. The simulations showed that wave forcing drives a sediment circulation pattern that results in bar and berm formation. However, together with wave forcing, tides modulate the predicted nearshore sediment dynamics. The combination of tides and wave action has a notable effect on longshore suspended sediment transport fluxes, relative to wave action alone. The model’s ability to predict sediment transport under propagation of obliquely incident wave conditions underscores its potential for understanding the evolution of beach morphology at field scale. For example, the results of the model confirmed that the wave characteristics have a considerable effect on the cumulative erosion/deposition, cross-shore distribution of longshore sediment transport and transport rate across and along the beach face. In addition, for the same type of oceanic forcing, the beach morphology exhibits different erosive characteristics depending on grain size (e.g., foreshore profile evolution is erosive or accretive on fine or coarse sand beaches, respectively). Decreasing wave height increases the proportion of onshore to offshore fluxes, almost reaching a neutral net balance.

Related material