Modelling the effect of time-dependent river dune evolution on bed roughness and stage

Andries Paarlberg, Catarine M. Dohmen-Janssen, Suzanne J.M.H. Hulscher, A.P.P. Termes, Ralph Mathias Johannes Schielen

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This paper presents an approach to incorporate time-dependent dune evolution in the determination of bed roughness coefficients applied in hydraulic models. Dune roughness is calculated by using the process-based dune evolution model of Paarlberg et al. (2009) and the empirical dune roughness predictor of Van Rijn (1984). The approach is illustrated by applying it to a river of simple geometry in the 1-D hydraulic model SOBEK for two different flood wave shapes. Calculated dune heights clearly show a dependency on rate of change in discharge with time: dunes grow to larger heights for a flood wave with a smaller rate of change. Bed roughness coefficients computed using the new approach can be up to 10% higher than roughness coefficients based on calibration, with the largest differences at low flows. As a result of this larger bed roughness, computed water depths can be up to 15% larger at low flow. The new approach helps to reduce uncertainties in bed roughness coefficients of flow models, especially for river systems with strong variations in discharge with time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1854-1866
JournalEarth surface processes and landforms
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • METIS-252849
  • IR-86447


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