Quantification of dune dynamics during a tidal cycle in an inlet channel of the Danish Wadden Sea

Verner B. Ernstsen, Riko Noormets, Christian Winter, Dierk Hebbeln, Alex Bartholomä, Burg W. Flemming, J. Bartholdy

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftArtikelForskningpeer review

49 Citationer (Scopus)


High-resolution swath bathymetry measurements at centimetre-scale precision conducted during a tidal cycle in the Grådyb tidal inlet channel in the Danish Wadden Sea reveal the short-term dynamics of a large, ebb-directed compound dune with superimposed small to medium dunes, all composed of medium sand. Dune dynamics were related to simultaneous measurements of flow using an acoustic Doppler current profiler. Spatially, dune crests displayed greater mobility than did dune troughs, due to higher flow velocities at the crests than in the troughs. Temporally, superimposed lower lee-side dunes migrated more during the flood than the ebb tide, due to higher near-bed trough flow velocities during the flood phase, resulting in varying exposure to flow. Net dune migration was flood-directed over the tidal cycle, despite annual net migration being ebb-directed. Hence, extrapolation of short-term migration rates is not possible in this case. The superimposed dunes reversed direction during each half tidal cycle whereas the compound dune only developed a flood cap during flood tide, i.e. the time required for complete reversal of the compound dune was much longer than that available in a half tidal cycle. Over the tidal cycle, the bed level was stable but significant erosion and accretion occurred during the tidal phases. During the ebb tide, bed material was brought into suspension with accelerating flow and settled with decelerating flow, resulting in an average erosion and accretion of the bed of ∼7 cm in each case. During the flood tide, the bed of the compound dune was overall stable, although bed material was eroded from the exposed lower lee side, being partly transported to the crest in bedload and partly brought into suspension. In general, dune height fluctuated during the tidal cycle whereas dune length remained stable. The height of the compound dune responded to changes in water depth, which acts as a limiting factor to dune growth. By contrast, the height of the stoss-side dunes responded to flow velocity, i.e. the stoss-side dunes were water depth-independent.

Sider (fra-til)151-163
Antal sider13
TidsskriftGeo-Marine Letters
Udgave nummer3
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2006
Udgivet eksterntJa


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