Modeling Form Roughness Induced by Tidal Sand Waves

Laura Portos‐Amill*, Pieter C. Roos, Johan H. Damveld, Suzanne J.M.H. Hulscher

*Corresponding author for this work

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Tide-dominated sandy shelf seas, such as the Dutch North Sea, are covered by sand waves. Yet, basin-scale hydrodynamic models do not include any sand wave information because their grid sizes are too coarse to resolve sand waves individually. We explore the possibility of parametrizing the effects of sand waves on the larger-scale tidal flow by means of a form roughness. Specifically, our aim is to see to what extent the flow over a sand wave field can be reproduced by that over a flat seabed with an increased effective roughness (accounting for both grain and form roughness). To do so, we use two process-based hydrodynamic models: a second order perturbation approach, and Delft3D. Both models demonstrate that the presence of sand waves causes amplitude decrease and phase shift of the tidal flow. We explore the dependencies of form roughness on different sand wave characteristics (wavelength, height and asymmetry). Shorter and higher sand waves cause a higher form roughness, while our analysis does not reveal any dependency on sand wave asymmetry. Notably, the consideration of a tidal flow, characterized by several tidal constituents, each represented by an amplitude and a phase, results in a more complex form roughness analysis than in a fluvial setting, where the flow is unidirectional and steady. We thus obtain an amplitude-based form roughness and a phase-based form roughness, each yielding a different value, yet displaying the same qualitative dependencies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023JF007610
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of geophysical research: Earth surface
Issue number5
Early online date25 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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