Morphodynamic acceleration techniques for multi-timescale predictions of complex sandy interventions

Arjen P. Luijendijk*, Matthieu A. de Schipper, Roshanka Ranasinghe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
158 Downloads (Pure)


Thirty one percent (31%) of the world's coastline consists of sandy beaches and dunes that form a natural defense protecting the hinterland from flooding. A common measure to mitigate erosion along sandy beaches is the implementation of sand nourishments. The design and acceptance of such a mitigating measure require information on the expected evolution at time scales from storms to decades. Process-based morphodynamic models are increasingly applied, together with morphodynamic acceleration techniques, to obtain detailed information on this wide scale of ranges. This study shows that techniques for the acceleration of the morphological evolution can have a significant impact on the simulated evolution and dispersion of sandy interventions. A calibrated Delft3D model of the Sand Engine mega-nourishment is applied to compare different acceleration techniques, focusing on accuracy and computational times. Results show that acceleration techniques using representative (schematized) wave conditions are not capable of accurately reproducing the morphological response in the first two years. The best reproduction of the morphological behavior of the first five years is obtained by the brute force simulations. Applying input filtering and a compression factor provides similar accuracy yet with a factor five gain in computational cost. An attractive method for the medium to long time scales, which further reduces computational costs, is a method that uses representative wave conditions based on gross longshore transports, while showing similar results as the benchmark simulation. Erosional behavior is captured well in all considered techniques with variations in volumes of about 1 million m3 after three decades. The spatio-temporal variability of the predicted alongshore and cross-shore distribution of the morphological evolution however have a strong dependency on the selected acceleration technique. A new technique, called 'brute force merged', which incorporates the full variability of the wave climate, provides the optimal combination of phenomenological accuracy and computational efficiency (a factor of 20 faster than the benchmark brute force technique) at both the short and medium to long time scales. This approach, which combines realistic time series and the mormerge technique, provides an attractive and flexible method to efficiently predict the evolution of complex sandy interventions at time scales from hours to decades.
Original languageEnglish
Article number78
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Acceleration techniques
  • Coastal behavior
  • Delft3D
  • Long-term evolution
  • Morphodynamic modelling
  • Nourishments


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