Effects of sea-level rise on tides and sediment dynamics in a Dutch tidal bay

Jiang, Long; Gerkema, Theo; Idier, Déborah; Slangen, Aimée B. A.; Soetaert, Karline

Sea-level rise (SLR) not only increases the threat of coastal flooding, but may also change tidal regimes in estuaries and coastal bays. To investigate such nearshore tidal responses to SLR, a hydrodynamic model of the European Shelf is downscaled to a model of a Dutch coastal bay (the Oosterschelde, i.e., Eastern Scheldt) and forced by SLR scenarios ranging from 0 to 2 m. This way, the effect of SLR on tidal dynamics in the adjacent North Sea is taken into account as well. The model setup does not include meteorological forcing, gravitational circulation, and changes in bottom topography. Our results indicate that SLR up to 2 m induces larger increases in tidal amplitude and stronger nonlinear tidal distortion in the bay compared to the adjacent shelf sea. Under SLR up to 2 m, the bay shifts from a mixed flood- and ebb-dominant state to complete ebb dominance. We also find that tidal asymmetry affects an important component of sediment transport. Considering sand bed-load transport only, the changed tidal asymmetry may lead to enhanced export, with potential implications for shoreline management. In this case study, we find that local impacts of SLR can be highly spatially varying and nonlinear. The model coupling approach applied here is suggested as a useful tool for establishing local SLR projections in estuaries and coastal bays elsewhere. Future studies should include how SLR changes the bed morphology as well as the feedback effect on tides.

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Jiang, Long / Gerkema, Theo / Idier, Déborah / et al: Effects of sea-level rise on tides and sediment dynamics in a Dutch tidal bay. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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