2DV Modelling of sediment transport processes over full scale ripples in regular asymmetric oscillatory flow

Jebbe J. van der Werf, V. Magar, J. Malarkey, K. Guizien, T. O' Donoghue

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Wave-induced, steep vortex ripples are ubiquitous features in shallow coastal seas and it is therefore important to fully understand and model the sediment transport processes that occur over them. To this end, two two-dimensional vertical (2DV) models have been critically tested against detailed velocity and sediment concentration measurements above mobile ripples in regular asymmetric oscillatory flow. The two models are a k–ω turbulence-closure model and a discrete-vortex, particle-tracking (DVPT) model, while the data are obtained in the Aberdeen oscillatory flow tunnel (AOFT). The models and the data demonstrate that the time-dependent velocity and suspended sediment concentration above the ripple are dominated by the generation of lee-side vortices and their subsequent ejection at flow reversal. The DVPT model predicts the positions and strengths of the vortices reasonably well, but tends to overpredict the velocity close to the ripple surface. The k–ω model, on the other hand, underpredicts the height to which the vortices are lifted, but is better able to predict the velocity close to the bed. In terms of the cycle- and ripple-averaged horizontal velocity, both models are able to reproduce the observed offshore flow close to and below the ripple crest and the DVPT model is able to produce the onshore flow higher up. In the vicinity of the vortices, the DVPT model better represents the concentration (because of its better prediction of vorticity). The k–ω model, on the other hand, better represents the concentration close to the ripple surface and higher up in the flow (because of the better representation of the near-bed flow and background turbulence). The measured and predicted cycle- and ripple-averaged suspended sediment concentrations are in reasonable agreement and demonstrate the expected region of exponential decay. The models are able to reproduce the observed offshore cycle- and ripple-averaged suspended sediment flux from the ripple troughs upwards, and as a result, produce net offshore suspended sediment transport rates that are in reasonable agreement. The net measured offshore suspended transport rate, based on the integration of fluxes, was found to be consistent with the total net offshore transport measured in the tunnel as a whole once the onshore transport resulting from ripple migration was taken into account, as would be expected. This demonstrates the importance of models being able to predict ripple-migration rates. However, at present neither of the models is able to do so.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1040-1056
JournalContinental shelf research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • IR-78899
  • Sand ripples
  • Experimental data
  • Mathematical Models
  • Oscillatory flow
  • Sediment transport
  • METIS-239037

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