Simulation of long-term morphodynamic behaviour of the Western Scheldt

Gerard Dam, Mick van der Wegen, Dano Roelvink, Robert-Jan Labeur, Bram Bliek

Monday 29 june 2015

16:12 - 16:24h at South America (level 0)

Themes: (T) Special session, (ST) Scheldt Estuary physics and integrated management

Parallel session: 3J. Special session: Scheldt Estuary physics and integrated management

In this paper we use a 2D process-based model to hindcast morphodynamic behavior of the Western Scheldt estuary. The periods of 1860-1970 (110 years) and 1905-1970 (65 years) are simulated. We compare the results to a historically unique dataset of bathymetric maps. The results show that the model results get better over time. The results show that the model is capable of simulating the large scale erosion and sedimentation that has occurred in the considered period. We attribute this to the self-organization of both the model and reality. The interaction between the major tidal forcing and the estuaries' fixed outline overrules other uncertainties over long time scales. Our research shows that process-based models applied in confined environments and under constant forcing conditions may perform well especially on long time scales. This makes them potentially suitable for centennial time scale forecasts related to, for example, climate change.