SWAN-mud: engineering model for mud-induced wave damping

Wouter Kranenburg, J.C. Winterwerp, G.J. de Boer, JM. Cornelisse, M. Zijlema

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31 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the implementation of a new dispersion relation and energy-dissipation equation obtained from a viscous two-layer model schematization in the state-of-the-art wave forecasting model SWAN to simulate wave damping in coastal areas by fluid mud deposits. This new dispersion relation is derived for a nonviscous, nonhydrostatic upper layer and a viscous, hydrostatic lower layer, covering most conditions encountered in nature. An algorithm is developed for a robust numerical solution of this new implicit dispersion relation through proper starting values in the iteration procedure. The implementation is tested against a series of analytical solutions and three schematic test cases. Next, four dispersion relations published in the literature are evaluated and compared with the new dispersion relation. The solution of the dispersion relations forms a multidimensional space. Comparison of the various model solutions through one-dimensional graphs can therefore become quite misleading, as shown in the discussion of a two-dimensional representation of the solution space, explaining for instance the variation in ambient conditions at which maximum wave damping is to be expected. The various models have been developed for a variety of conditions, such as shallow and deep water and shallow and thick mud layers; the various models agree well in their domain of applicability, but they show significant deviations when used outside their domain. Because the ambient and mud conditions may vary considerable in space and time at a particular site, the use of the new model is advocated because it covers most water depths and fluid mud thicknesses encountered in nature. The strength of the new SWAN-mud model lies in its large-scale applicability, assessing the two-dimensional evolution of wave fields in coastal areas. Therefore, the new implementation is evaluated with respect to the behavior of waves on a sloping seabed, representing real-world coasts. In all cases, the new SWAN-mud model behaves satisfactorily; a critical remaining issue, though, is the assessment of the relevant fluid mud paramet
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-975
JournalJournal of hydraulic engineering (Reston)
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • METIS-277276
  • IR-84576


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