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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4(1), 15; doi:10.3390/jmse4010015

On the Intersite Variability in Inter-Annual Nearshore Sandbar Cycles

Marine and Coastal Systems, Deltares, PO Box 177, 2600 MH, Delft, The Netherlands
Hydraulic Engineering Section, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5048, 2600 GA, Delft, The Netherlands
Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, PO Box 80115, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dong-Sheng Jeng
Received: 4 December 2015 / Revised: 31 January 2016 / Accepted: 3 February 2016 / Published: 25 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Morphodynamics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [11499 KB, uploaded 25 February 2016]   |  


Inter-annual bar dynamics may vary considerably across sites with very similar environmental settings. In particular, the variability of the bar cycle return period (Tr) may differ by a factor of 3 to 4. To date, data studies are only partially successful in explaining differences in Tr, establishing at best weak correlations to local environmental characteristics. Here, we use a process-based forward model to investigate the non-linear interactions between the hydrodynamic forcing and the morphodynamic profile response for two sites along the Dutch coast (Noordwijk and Egmond) that despite strong similarity in environmental conditions exhibit distinctly different Tr values. Our exploratory modeling enables a consistent investigation of the role of specific parameters at a level of detail that cannot be achieved from observations alone, and provides insights into the mechanisms that govern Tr. The results reveal that the bed slope in the barred zone is the most important parameter governing Tr. As a bar migrates further offshore, a steeper slope results in a stronger relative increase in the water depth above the bar crest which reduces wave breaking and in turn reduces the offshore migration rate. The deceleration of the offshore migration rate as the bar moves to deeper water—the morphodynamic feedback loop—contrasts with the initial enhanced offshore migration behavior of the bar. The initial behavior is determined by the intense wave breaking associated with the steeper profile slope. This explains the counter-intuitive observations at Egmond where Tr is significantly longer than at Noordwijk despite Egmond having the more energetic wave climate which typically reduces Tr. View Full-Text
Keywords: morphodynamic feedback loop; Egmond; Noordwijk; inter-annual bar dynamics; process based modeling; Unibest-TC; sandbars; bar switch; morphodynamic modeling; cyclic bar behavior; Jarkus morphodynamic feedback loop; Egmond; Noordwijk; inter-annual bar dynamics; process based modeling; Unibest-TC; sandbars; bar switch; morphodynamic modeling; cyclic bar behavior; Jarkus

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Walstra, D.-J.R.; Wesselman, D.A.; van der Deijl, E.C.; Ruessink, G. On the Intersite Variability in Inter-Annual Nearshore Sandbar Cycles. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2016, 4, 15.

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