Variability of residual fluxes of suspended sediment in a multiple tidal-inlet system: the Dutch Wadden Sea

M. Sassi, M. Duran-Matute, Th. van Kessel, Th. Gerkema

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In multiple tidal-inlet systems such as the Dutch Wadden Sea, the exchange of sediments between the coastal lagoon and the adjacent sea is controlled by the combined effect of the tides, wind-driven flows, and density-driven flows. We investigate the variability of residual (tidally averaged) fluxes of suspended sediment with the three-dimensional numerical model GETM in relation to forcing mechanisms and model parameters. Sediment transport is modeled with three sediment classes. A modified Partheniades-Krone formulation describes the erosion and deposition fluxes from a single-layer sediment pool. The model is initialized with a uniform sediment pool for each class and the spin up period amounts to six months. Simulations span 1 year. Comparisons with observations show that model results are fairly realistic. Residual fluxes of water and suspended sediment are episodic in nature and vary strongly throughout the year, mainly due to wind variability. The net balance between import and export of material is very sensitive to model parameters. Residual fluxes are sensitive to the geographical orientation and location of the inlets, and the effect of driving mechanisms on the residual fluxes and concentrations can be organized hierarchically, with wind forcing having the largest effect on concentration levels and variability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1333
Number of pages13
JournalOcean Dynamics
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2015


  • Mud transport
  • Numerical model
  • Residual flux
  • Tidal inlet


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