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Title: Predicting the development of crescentic bed patterns : a comparison of linear stability model results with field observations
Author: Tiessen, Meinard
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 9159
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2010
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Large scale patterns in the seabed often occur in the nearshore zone of sandy beaches. A widely occurring bed pattern is the crescentic bar. These bed patterns develop under moderate wave conditions, and form a lunate shaped alongshore pattern in front of a coast. Over recent years, knowledge concerning the development, occurrence, and characteristics of these bed patterns has been significantly expanded through field studies and modelling attempts. An example of such a model is the linear stability analysis, which describes the initial development of crescentic bed patterns along an undisturbed beach. To date, comparisons between field measurements and modelling results have been general in nature. The purpose of this research is to investigate whether a linear stability analysis, which is useful for understanding the physics of emerging bed-forms, can be used to make quantitative predictions in the field. To this end a morphodynamical linear stability model (Morfo60, [Calvete et al., 2005]) is used to describe the development of crescentic bed patterns at the coast at the USACE Field Research Facility in Duck, North Carolina, USA. Wave, tide and bathymetry data recorded at Duck over a two month period in 1998 are used to model the development of these morphodynamical patterns. The model predictions are compared with field observations made at Duck, over the same two month period, reported by van Enckevort et al. [2004]. A direct comparison shows that predicted length scales of crescentic bed patterns are similar to those observed. However, the model predictions show more fluctuations than are observed in the field. This is because the model describes the development of crescentic bed patterns starting from an alongshore constant bed, whereas in reality bed patterns already exist in most situations. An algorithm is developed to overcome these fluctuations and identifies the more physically significant model predictions based on large growth rates and consistency in length scales. The moments at which physically significant model predictions occur correspond better with field observations than the original model predictions. The effects of pre-existing bed-forms on the development of crescentic bed patterns are investigated using a non-linear model (Morfo55, [Garnier, 2006]). Results show that pre-existing bed patterns can have significant effects, however, the finally dominant length scale, the linear growth and decay rates, and the migration rate can be accurately described by a linear stability model. Pre-existing length scales that exhibit significant linear growth will remain and undergo further development, whereas length scales that are outside the linear growth rate curve decay and give rise to a bed pattern with a bigger linear growth rate. The conclusions drawn from the research concerning pre-existing bed patterns are applied to improve predictions linear stability model. This results in considerable improvements in the comparison of model predictions with field observations, for certain periods of time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering