Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 56, Issue 3–4, pp 266–283 | Cite as

On the sensitivity of the sedimentary system in the East Frisian Wadden Sea to sea-level rise and wave-induced bed shear stress

  • Emil Vassilev StanevEmail author
  • Jörg-Olaf Wolff
  • Gerold Brink-Spalink
Original paper


The paper addresses the individual and collective contribution of different forcing factors (tides, wind waves, and sea-level rise) to the dynamics of sediment in coastal areas. The results are obtained from simulations with the General Estuarine Transport Model coupled with a sediment transport model. The wave-induced bed shear stress is formulated using a simple model based on the concept that the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) associated with wind waves is a function of orbital velocity, the latter depending on the wave height and water depth. A theory is presented explaining the controls of sediment dynamics by the TKE produced by tides and wind waves. Several scenarios were developed aiming at revealing possible trends resulting from realistic (observed or expected) changes in sea level and wave magnitude. The simulations demonstrate that these changes not only influence the concentration of sediment, which is very sensitive to the magnitude of the external forcing, but also the temporal variability patterns. The joint effect of tides and wave-induced bed shear stress revealed by the comparison between theoretical results and simulations is well pronounced. The intercomparison between different scenarios demonstrates that the spatial patterns of erosion and deposition are very sensitive to the magnitude of wind waves and sea-level rise. Under a changing climate, forcing the horizontal distribution of sediments adjusts mainly through a change in the balance of export and import of sediment from the intertidal basins. The strongest signal associated with this adjustment is simulated North of the barrier islands where the evolution of sedimentation gives an integrated picture of the processes in tidal basins.


Sediment transport Numerical modeling Wind waves Sea-level rise Climate change 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emil Vassilev Stanev
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jörg-Olaf Wolff
    • 1
  • Gerold Brink-Spalink
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Sea (ICBM)University of OldenburgOldenburgGermany

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