Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 61, Issue 10, pp 1629–1644 | Cite as

The influence of hydrodynamic boundary conditions on characteristics, migration, and associated sand transport of sand dunes in a tidal environment

A long-term study of the Elbe Estuary
  • Anna Christina ZorndtEmail author
  • Andreas Wurpts
  • Torsten Schlurmann
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Physics of Estuaries and Coastal Seas 2010


Large parts of the tidal estuary of river Elbe (Germany) are characterized by regular patterns of sand dunes. They evolve due to complex sand transport mechanisms and show multi-faceted migration patterns, which are influenced by hydrodynamic boundary conditions such as runoff and tidal forces. This study aims at increasing the understanding of the way hydrodynamic boundary conditions influence dune behavior. This is the basis of an effective sediment management as well as an important requirement for planning offshore structures. From a unique data set of up to six annual bathymetrical multibeam soundings between 1995 and 2010, bedform characteristics and migration rates were processed and analyzed with a set of automated methods. The influence of river runoff, water levels, current velocities, tidal range, and river depth on characteristics and migration were tested statistically. The results show that migration is mainly dominated by the incoming flood tide while rates and directions depend on the amount of runoff originating from the inland catchment.


Sand dunes Dune migration Sand transport River runoff Elbe Estuary 



The authors would like to thank Hamburg Port Authority namely Nino Ohle and Thomas Strotmann for their kind support and for providing the data basis for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Christina Zorndt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andreas Wurpts
    • 2
  • Torsten Schlurmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Franzius InstitutLeibniz Universität HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Forschungsstelle Küste, Nds. Landesbetrieb für Wasserwirtschaft, Küsten- und NaturschutzNorderneyGermany

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