The results of the study were recently published in the journal Coastal Engineering:

Predicting marine and aeolian contributions to the Sand Engine’s evolution using coupled modelling

Human interventions along the coast

The scale of human interventions along the coast is increasing. Recent examples include the Sand Motor (21 million cubic metres) and the Hondsbossche Dunes (35 million cubic metres). The focus in designing coastal solutions has traditionally been underwater; how does the sand spread along the coast under the influence of waves and tides? As the scale increases, so does the impact on the coast and services provided. In addition to underwater spreading, the influence above water becomes increasingly relevant, such as the influence on beach width, dune growth, and natural dynamics.

New model

Bart’s study considered the integral development of the Sand Motor, both wet and dry, and predicted this using a new model. Using BMI (Basic Modelling Interface), he linked two existing models: a Delft3D Flexible Mesh model describing the hydrodynamics, and an AeoLiS model for the wind-driven developments.

The model results show that there is indeed an exchange between the foreshore and the dunes. Dune growth increases in areas with natural accretion of the beach by waves and tides, which aligns with observations. Furthermore, it appears that dune growth leaves less sand for spreading along the shore.

Scaling up

To calculate global coastal solutions in such an integrated way, the approach needs to be scaled up - both in space and time. By adding more existing models to the coupled model, it should also become possible to include other domains, such as groundwater and ecology.

We are proud that we have been able to link different parts of the coast, which until now have been considered separately or not at all, for the first time on this scale

Bart van Westen, Deltares researcher / lead author

Authors: Bart van Westen (Deltares), Arjen Luijendijk (Deltares / TU Delft), Tim Leijnse (Deltares), Sierd de Vries (TU Delft), Nicholas Cohn (U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory), Matthieu A. de Schipper (TU Delft).

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