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Suspended sediment transport along an idealised tidal embayment: settling lag, residual transport and the interpretation of tidal signals

Pritchard, David (2005) Suspended sediment transport along an idealised tidal embayment: settling lag, residual transport and the interpretation of tidal signals. Ocean Dynamics, 55 (2). pp. 124-136. ISSN 1616-7341

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Abstract

We present semi-analytical solutions for suspended sediment concentration (SSC) and residual sediment transport in a simple mathematical model of a short tidal embayment. These solutions allow us to investigate in some detail the characteristic tidal and semi-tidal variation of SSC and the processes leading to residual sediment transport, including settling and scour lags, the roles of ‘local’ and ‘advective’ contributions, and the presence of internally or externally generated overtides. By interpreting the transport mechanisms in terms of the classic conceptual models of settling lag we clarify how these models may be expressed in mathematical terms. Our results suggest that settling lag is usually a more important process than scour lag, and that a local model which neglects advection may predict the direction of net sediment transport incorrectly. Finally, we discuss our results in the context of other transport processes and morphodynamic feedback.