An idealized model of tidal dynamics in the North Sea: resonance proporties and response to large-scale changes

Pieter C. Roos, Jorick J. Velema, Suzanne J.M.H. Hulscher, Ad Stolk

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An idealized process-based model is developed to investigate tidal dynamics in the North Sea. The model geometry consists of a sequence of different rectangular compartments of uniform depth, thus, accounting for width and depth variations in a stepwise manner. This schematization allows for a quick and transparent solution procedure. The solution, forced by incoming Kelvin waves at the open boundaries and satisfying the linear shallow water equations on the f plane with bottom friction, is in each compartment written as a superposition of eigenmodes, i.e. Kelvin and Poincaré waves. A collocation method is employed to satisfy boundary and matching conditions. First, the general resonance properties of a strongly simplified geometry with two compartments, representing the Northern North Sea and Southern Bight, are studied. Varying the forcing frequency while neglecting bottom friction reveals Kelvin and Poincaré resonance. These resonances continue to exist (but with lower amplification and a modified spatial structure) when adding the Dover Strait as a third compartment and separating the solutions due to forcing from either the north or the south only. Including bottom friction dampens the peaks. Next, comparison with tide observations along the North Sea coast shows remarkable agreement for both semi-diurnal and diurnal tides. This result is achieved with a more detailed geometry consisting of 12 compartments fitted to the coastline of the North Sea. Further simulations emphasize the importance of Dover Strait and bottom friction. Finally, it is found that a sea level rise of 1 m, uniformly applied to the entire North Sea, amplifies the M2-elevation amplitudes almost everywhere along the coast, with an increase of up to 8 cm in Dover Strait. Bed level changes of ±1 m, uniformly applied to the Southern Bight only, imply weaker changes, with changes in coastal M2-elevation amplitudes below 5 cm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2019-2035
JournalOcean dynamics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • METIS-280187
  • Tides · North Sea · Resonance · Sea level rise
  • IR-78596


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