Modelling-based assessment of suspended sediment dynamics in a hypertidal estuarine channel

Amoudry, Laurent; Ramirez-Mendoza, Rafael; Souza, Alejandro; Brown, Jennifer ORCID: 2014 Modelling-based assessment of suspended sediment dynamics in a hypertidal estuarine channel. Ocean Dynamics, 64 (5). 707-722.

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We investigate the dynamics of suspended sediment transport in a hypertidal estuarine channel which displays a vertically sheared exchange flow. We apply a three-dimensional process-based model coupling hydrodynamics, turbulence and sediment transport to the Dee Estuary, in the north-west region of the UK. The numerical model is used to reproduce observations of suspended sediment and to assess physical processes responsible for the observed suspended sediment concentration patterns. The study period focuses on a calm period during which wave-current interactions can reasonably be neglected. Good agreement between model and observations has been obtained. A series of numerical experiments aim to isolate specific processes and confirm that the suspended sediment dynamics result primarily from advection of a longitudinal gradient in concentration during our study period, combined with resuspension and vertical exchange processes. Horizontal advection of sediment presents a strong semi-diurnal variability, while vertical exchange processes (including time-varying settling as a proxy for flocculation) exhibit a quarter-diurnal variability. Sediment input from the river is found to have very little importance, and spatial gradients in suspended concentration are generated by spatial heterogeneity in bed sediment characteristics and spatial variations in turbulence and bed shear stress.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: NOC Programmes > Marine Physics and Ocean Climate
ISSN: 1616-7341
Date made live: 23 Jan 2014 09:26 +0 (UTC)

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