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Understanding the western Wadden Sea in terms of inlet connectivity : an exploratory modelling approach

Ploeg, Wout (2023) Understanding the western Wadden Sea in terms of inlet connectivity : an exploratory modelling approach.

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Abstract:Barrier coasts are characterised by a chain of barrier islands, separated by tidal inlets that connect the outer sea to the basin. Improving our understanding of these is crucial in managing these areas, which are often subject to conflicting interests between ecology, economy and coastal safety. This study focuses on cross-sectional stability (whether the system returns to equilibrium after a perturbation) and connectivity (to which extent perturbations at one inlet lead to cross-sectional changes of other inlets) of double and triple inlet systems. For this purpose, an idealised process-based model based in the Escoffier (1940) principle is developed, that allows for basins with plan view shape like the sector of a circle and for a tidal divide to be present along a constant radial coordinate. It is investigated how tidal inlet stability and connectivity are influenced by 1) changing to this sectoral basin geometry; 2) changing from a double to a triple inlet system; 3) including a tidal divide circumventing the middle inlet. The results, obtained for symmetric systems, indicate that the basin area is a key factor in inlet stability and connectivity and that including such a tidal divide reduces the connectivity between all inlets. Furthermore, a direct correlation between asymmetry in the cross-sectional area of the inlets and asymmetry in the inlet connectivity is found, independent of the presence of the tidal divide but dependent on the basin area, resulting from the competition between the bottom friction in and pressure-gradient over the inlets.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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