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Title: Wave dynamics in a macro-tidal estuary
Author: Herman, W. M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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This study explores field and numerically modelled datasets on wave and wave-driven processes within the macro-tidal Blackwater Estuary in Essex, U.K. The wave climate of the Blackwater Estuary was characterised from wave records collected from 1994 to 1996 at 5 monitoring stations within the estuary. From these records and hindcasted offshore wave records over this period, locally-generated wind waves, wind-sea, and swell waves were identified and their significance assessed in terms of probability of occurrence and variability in different sections of the estuary. The Blackwater Estuary is found to be subject to waves from both offshore and from within the estuary, with evidence of seasonality within these wave climates. Longer-term wave and tidal height distributions were predicted through a Weibull probability model and their joint probability established for different return intervals. A numerical wave model (MWAVE_REG) was used to quantify the temporal and spatial impact of a variety of hydrodynamic scenarios (including 'worst case') within the Blackwater Estuary. The effects of wave diffraction, reflection and refraction were evaluated and areas of wave focusing within the estuary identified. The model was subsequently used to predict morphological changes per 1km shoreline, linking modelled hydrodynamics to observed morphological changes. The significance of the distribution of wave energy within the estuary for sediment entrainment, transport and deposition is discussed. In order to modify the highly artificial estuarine system of the Blackwater, a number of potential managed realignment sites were identified. From the hydrodynamic and morphodynamic findings of this study; these may aid in the reaction of a more natural estuarine system, better able to absorb extreme water local events.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available