Net beach change in the swash zone: A numerical investigation

Fangfang Zhu, Nicholas Dodd

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


A range of bed-load sediment transport formulae are used to run fully coupled, morphodynamic simulations of one [1] swash cycle on an erodible plane beach. A system comprising shallow water equations and Exner equation is solved, in which sediment transport rate q is either dependent only on depth averaged velocity (u), or on u and water depth (h). The results are in agreement with equivalent uncoupled results [2] in that all sediment transport formulae considered applied to the event of [1] yield net erosion in the whole of the swash. Consistent with [3], however, full coupling yields significantly less erosion for all the q = q(u) formulae compared to the equivalent uncoupled results. It is shown that differences between uncoupled and coupled approaches (for most formulae) accumulate over the course of the swash event. The main reason for the reduced net erosion is the smaller maximum inundation. It is also shown that including a dependence on h in the bed load sediment transport formula for fully coupled simulations can result in net deposition in the upper swash.Bed shear stress described by a Chezy law is further included in fully coupled simulations to examine net beach change. Much reduced maximum inundation and net offshore sediment transport are predicted both for q = q(u) and q = q(h, u). It is shown that although the net sediment flux at the base of the swash under one [1] swash event is still offshore, deposition in the middle or upper swash may be predicted when bed shear stress is included, particularly when the drag coefficient in the backwash is reduced compared to that in the uprush, consistent with some in-situ measurements. The implication is that bed shear stress must be included not just to obtain correct quantitative beach change, but also to obtain correct qualitative beach behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-22
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Bed profile
  • Bed shear stress
  • Sediment transport formulae
  • Swash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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