Models of near-bed dynamics and sediment movement at the Iberian margin

Davies, Alan M.; Xing, Jiuxing; Huthnance, John M. ORCID:; Hall, Philip; Thomsen, Laurenz. 2002 Models of near-bed dynamics and sediment movement at the Iberian margin. Progress in Oceanography, 52 (2-4). 373-397.

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A three dimensional time-dependent baroclinic hydrodynamic model, including sediment transport and incorporating a turbulence energy sub-model, is used in cross sectional form to examine sediment movement at the shelf edge off North West Iberia at 42°40.5’N where measurements were made as part of the OMEX-II programme. These calculations are complemented by a simpler, in essence time-independent model, which is used to examine the sensitivity of the sediment distribution over the slope (from a shelf-break source) to changes in the specified values of horizontal and vertical diffusion coefficients. The philosophy of the paper is to use idealized tidal, wind and wind wave forcing to examine changes in sediment distribution resulting from these processes. Calculations with the time-dependent and steady state models give insight into both the role of events and long-term effects. The steady state model focuses on the off-shelf region, whilst the time-dependent model considers on-shelf events. Tidal calculations showed that for the stratification used here the internal tide in the OMEX region was primarily confined to the shelf edge and ocean. A mean on-shelf sediment transport in the surface layer and off-shelf transport at the bed was found. Across-shelf circulations produced by up-welling/down-welling favourable winds gave rise to on-shelf/off-shelf currents in the bottom boundary layer with an opposite flow in the surface layer. In the case of an up-welling favourable wind, sediment suspension was at a maximum in the near coastal region, with sediment being advected off shore in the surface layer. With a down-welling favourable wind, surface sediment was advected towards the shore, but there was offshore transport at the bed. Near the shelf edge any upwelling flow had the tendency to return this sediment to the surface layer from whence it was transported on-shore. So in essence the sediment was trapped within an on-shelf circulation cell. Wind waves effects increased the total bed stress and hence the sediment concentration and its transport, although its pattern was determined by tidal and wind forcing. The time independent model with increased/decreased lateral diffusivity gave an enhanced/reduced horizontal sediment distribution for a given settling velocity. As the settling velocity increases, the down-slope movement of sediment is increased, with a reduction in the thickness of the near-bed sediment layer, but with little change in its horizontal extent.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: POL Programmes
ISSN: 00796611
Date made live: 01 Jul 2013 13:08 +0 (UTC)

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