Morphodynamic instabilities of planar beaches: Sensitivity to parameter values and process formulations



[1] The initial growth of bed perturbations on planar sloping beaches under the forcing of obliquely incident, breaking waves is investigated using a state-of-the-art numerical model. This allows for a systematic investigation of the sensitivity of the spatial structures of the bed perturbations and their growth and migration rates to different model formulations and parameterizations. If the sediment is only transported in the direction of the net current velocity and sediment stirring is taken proportional to the wave height squared, growing up-current oriented crescentic bars are found with a preferred spacing of 800 m and a down-current migration rate of 10 m d−1. Varying the angle of wave incidence, drag coefficient and bed slope results in qualitatively similar growing bed forms. Using an Engelund and Hansen transport formula, very oblique down-current oriented bars are obtained that grow in time. No preferred wavelength, however, is found. Using the Bailard transport formula results in growing, up-current oriented bars with a preferred spacing smaller than 300 m for wave angles smaller than 7°. When using either the Engelund and Hansen or Bailard sediment transport formulation, it is essential to take the transport in the direction of the wave orbital velocity into account in order to have growing bed perturbations.