Influence of wave and current flow on sediment-carrying capacity and sediment flux at the water–sediment interface

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In nearshore waters, spatial and temporal scales of waves, tidal currents, and circulation patterns vary greatly. It is, therefore, difficult to combine these factors’ effects when trying to predict sediment transport processes. This paper proposes the concept of significant wave velocity, which combines the effects of waves, tides, and ocean currents using the horizontal kinetic energy superposition principle. Through a comparison of the relationship between shear stress at the water–sediment interface and sediment-carrying capacity, assuming equilibrium sediment flux, a new formula for sediment-carrying capacity, which incorporates the concept of significant wave velocities, is derived. Sediment-carrying capacity is a function of the critical velocity, which increases with water depth and decreases with increasing relative roughness of the seabed. Finally, data from field observation stations and simulations are used to test the proposed formula. The results show that the new formula is in good agreement with both field and simulation data. This new formula for sediment-carrying capacity can be used to simulate nearshore sediment transport.

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