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Towards continuous long-term measurements of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in turbid coastal waters

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The dynamics of sediment transport in the East Frisian Wadden Sea are important for the coastal zone and for ecosystem functioning. The tidal inlets between the East Frisian islands connect the back-barrier intertidal flats to the North Sea. Here, concentrations of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the water column are highly variable, depending on weather conditions and tides. In order to estimate the nature and quantity of sediment transport, in situ measurements were carried out at a Time Series Station in the tidal inlet between the islands of Spiekeroog and Langeoog. This study shows the suitability of multispectral transmissometry (MST) for obtaining long-term SPM measurements with high resolution. The comparability of this technique to the standard filter method and the laser diffraction method [laser in situ scattering and transmissometry (LISST)] is demonstrated. In addition, the Junge coefficients derived from both MST and LISST measurements are compared. A time series of SPM data covering nearly 4 months is presented. As a major result, the data reveal that a single storm surge can have less impact on SPM dynamics than longer-lasting gales. This high-resolution long-term data set is very valuable for modelling suspended matter flux. It also provides background information for studying the influence of SPM dynamics on coastal sediments.

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We are grateful to Axel Braun and Ingo Oetken for their skilful technical assistance and for the maintenance of the scientific instruments. We further thank the captain and crew of FK Senckenberg for their support and good spirits even under difficult conditions. We gratefully acknowledge the valuable comments of two anonymous reviewers and thank Constanze Böttcher for fruitful discussions of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Thomas H. Badewien.

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Responsible Editor: Jörg-Olaf Wolff

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Badewien, T.H., Zimmer, E., Bartholomä, A. et al. Towards continuous long-term measurements of suspended particulate matter (SPM) in turbid coastal waters. Ocean Dynamics 59, 227–238 (2009).

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