Calibration and validation of two tidal sand wave models: A case study of The Netherlands continental shelf

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Tidal sand waves form a dynamic bed pattern, widely occurring in shallow shelf seas such as the North Sea. Their importance to coastal engineering has inspired many advances in process-based sand wave modelling, aimed at explaining physical mechanisms in the formation stage (‘linear regime’) and capturing the finite amplitude evolution to equilibrium states (‘nonlinear regime’). However, systematic validation of particularly the nonlinear sand wave models is still lacking. Here, we perform a two-step calibration and validation study of a sand wave model (specifically, their linear and nonlinear model versions) against field data from the North Sea. In the first step, the linear model is calibrated by seeking overall values of two uncertain input parameters (slip parameter, wave period) for which the modeled and observed wavelengths show the best agreement. In the second step, using the calibrated input parameters and preferred wavelengths from the linear model, equilibrium heights from the nonlinear sand wave model are validated against the observed sand wave heights. Our results show satisfactory agreement between observed and modeled sand wave lengths (from the linear sand wave model) and a systematic overprediction of sand wave heights (using the nonlinear model). Regression analysis can be used to rescale the nonlinear model results to obtain realistic predictions of sand wave heights.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1902
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of marine science and engineering
Issue number12
Early online date5 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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