Influence of compound bedforms on hydraulic roughness in a tidal environment

Lefebvre, Alice; Ernstsen, Verner; Winter, Christian
December 2011
Ocean Dynamics;Dec2011, Vol. 61 Issue 12, p2201
Academic Journal
The effect exerted by the seabed morphology on the flow is commonly expressed by the hydraulic roughness, a fundamental parameter in the understanding and simulation of hydro- and sediment dynamics in coastal areas. This study quantifies the hydraulic roughness of large compound bedforms throughout a tidal cycle and investigates its relationship to averaged bedform dimensions. Consecutive measurements with an acoustic Doppler current profiler and a multibeam echosounder were carried out in the Jade tidal channel (North Sea, Germany) along large compound bedforms comprising ebb-oriented primary bedforms with superimposed smaller secondary bedforms. Spatially averaged velocity profiles produced log-linear relationships which were used to calculate roughness lengths. During the flood phase, the velocity profiles were best described by a single log-linear fit related to the roughness created by the secondary bedforms. During the ebb phase, the velocity profiles were segmented, showing the existence of at least two boundary layers: a lower one scaling with the superimposed secondary bedforms and an upper one scaling with the ebb-oriented primary bedforms. The drag induced by the primary bedform during the ebb phase is suggested to be related to flow expansion, separation, and recirculation on the downstream side of the bedform. Three existing formulas were tested to predict roughness lengths from the local bedform dimensions. All three predicted the right order of magnitude for the average roughness length but failed to predict its variation over the tidal cycle.


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