Sand transport processes and bed level changes induced by two alternating laboratory swash events

Joep Van Der Zanden*, Iván Cáceres, Sonja Eichentopf, Jan S. Ribberink, Jebbe J. Van Der Werf, José M. Alsina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
66 Downloads (Pure)


Sand transport processes and net transport rates are studied in a large-scale laboratory swash zone. Bichromatic waves with a phase modulation were generated, producing two continuously alternating swash events that have similar offshore wave statistics but which differ in terms of wave-swash interactions. Measured sand suspension and sheet flow dynamics show strong temporal and spatial variability, related to variations in flow velocity and locations of wave capture and wave-backwash interactions. Suspended and sheet flow layer transport rates in the lower swash zone are generally of same magnitude, but sheet flow exceeds the suspended load transport by up to a factor four during the early uprush. The bed level near the inner surf zone is relatively steady during a swash cycle, but changes of O(cm/s) are measured near the mid swash zone where wave-swash interactions lead to strongly non-uniform flows. The two alternating swash events produce a dynamic equilibrium, with bed level changes up to a few mm induced by single swash events, but with net morphodynamic change over multiple events that is two orders of magnitude lower. Most of the intra-swash and the single-event-averaged bed level changes in the swash zone are caused by a redistribution of sediment within the swash. The transport of sediment across the surf-swash boundary is minor at intra-swash time scale, but becomes increasingly significant at swash-averaged time scales or longer (i.e., averaged over multiple swash events).

Original languageEnglish
Article number103519
JournalCoastal engineering
Early online date2 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


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