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Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090324

A Multi-Scale Conceptual Model of Flood-Tide Delta Morphodynamics in Micro-Tidal Estuaries

1
Coastal and Regional Oceanography Lab, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2
Geocoastal Research Group, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
3
Harbour, Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Deltares, 2600 MH Delft, The Netherlands
4
Department of Water Science and Engineering, Institute for Water Education, IHE DelftPO Box 3015, 2601 DA Delft, The Netherlands
5
Water Engineering and Management, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University of Twente, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Geomorphology)
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Abstract

Wave and tide induced sediment transport pathways and rates govern the morphological evolution of estuarine systems. An understanding of the morphodynamics of these systems is required to maintain their commercial, biological and recreational value. The morphodynamics of Port Stephens estuary, a micro-tidal estuary located on a wave dominated southeast coast of Australia were investigated using bathymetric surveys and current velocity data from several locations over the estuary. This provided detailed insight into the rates and direction of movement for the main sedimentary features of the system, and how these features interact with the processes that drive their evolution. We used these findings to develop a conceptual model for estuarine morphodynamics that accounts for fair weather and storm conditions. Our model explains how sediment eroded from the estuarine beaches is trapped by the adjacent flood-tide delta. The model is applicable to fetch-limited estuaries that do not have offshore sources of sediment, where the tidal currents are weak in relation to the incident ocean waves, and that have a wide, stable entrance through which ocean waves can propagate into the estuary. The model is multi-scale in that it encapsulates both short-term and local process, and large scale evolution of an estuary; therefore, it represents a tool that may be used in developing sustainable estuary management strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: estuarine beaches; estuary management; storm processes; estuary circulation; Port Stephens; ADCP estuarine beaches; estuary management; storm processes; estuary circulation; Port Stephens; ADCP
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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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Austin, T.P.; Vila-Concejo, A.; Short, A.D.; Ranasinghe, R. A Multi-Scale Conceptual Model of Flood-Tide Delta Morphodynamics in Micro-Tidal Estuaries. Geosciences 2018, 8, 324.

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