The Sand Engine is a 21.5 million m3 experimental mega-nourishment project that was built in 2011 along the Dutch coast. This intervention created a discontinuity in the previous straight sandy coastline, altering the local hydrodynamics in a region that is influenced by the buoyant plume generated by the Rhine River. This work investigates the response of the cross-shore stratified tidal flow to the coastal protrusion created by the Sand Engine emplacement by using a 13 h velocity and density survey. Observations document the development of strong baroclinic-induced cross-shore exchange currents dictated by the intrusion of the river plume fronts as well as the classic tidal straining which are found to extend further into the nearshore (from 12 to 6m depth), otherwise believed to be a mixed zone. Estimates of the centrifugal acceleration directly after construction of the Sand Engine showed that the curvature effects were approximately 2 times stronger, suggesting that the Sand Engine might have played a role in controlling the cross-shore exchange currents during the first three years after the completion of the nourishment. Presently, the curvature effects are minute.
- Baroclinic forcing
- Centrifugal acceleration
- Cross-shore exchange currents
- Sand Engine