Morphodynamic Evolution of a Nourished Beach with Artificial Sandbars: Field Observations and Numerical Modeling

Cuiping Kuang, Xuejian Han, Jiabo Zhang, Qingping Zou, Boling Dong

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21 Citations (Scopus)
139 Downloads (Pure)


Beach nourishment, a common practice to replenish an eroded beach face with filling sand, has become increasingly popular as an environmentally friendly soft engineering measure to tackle coastal erosion. In this study, three 200 m long offshore submerged sandbars were placed about 200 m from the shore in August 2017 for both coastal protection and beach nourishment at Shanhai Pass, Bohai Sea, northeastern China. A series of 21 beach profiles were collected from August 2017 to July 2018 to monitor the morphological changes of the nourished beach. Field observations of wave and tide levels were conducted for one year and tidal current for 25 h, respectively. To investigate the spatial-temporal responses of hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and morphology to the presence of three artificial submerged sandbars, a two-dimensional depth-averaged (2DH) multi-fraction sediment transport and morphological model were coupled with wave and current model and implemented over a spatially varying nested grid. The model results compare well with the field observations of hydrodynamics and morphological changes. The tidal range was around 1.0 m and the waves predominately came from the south-south-east (SSE) direction in the study area. The observed and predicted beach profiles indicate that the sandbars moved onshore and the morphology experienced drastic changes immediately after the introduction of sandbars and reached an equilibrium state in about one year. The morphological change was mainly driven by waves. Under the influences of the prevailing waves and the longshore drift toward the northeast, the coastline on the leeside of the sandbars advanced seaward by 35 m maximally while the rest adjacent coastline retreated severely by 44 m maximally within August 2017–July 2018. The model results demonstrate that the three sandbars have little effect on the tidal current but attenuate the incoming wave significantly. As a result, the medium-coarse sand of sandbars is transported onshore and the background silt is mainly transported offshore and partly in the longshore direction toward the northeast. The 2- and 5-year model simulation results further indicate that shoreline salient may form behind the sandbars and protrude offshore enough to reach the sandbars, similar to the tombolo behind the breakwater.
Original languageEnglish
Article number245
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date25 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Artificial sandbars
  • Beach nourishment
  • Delft3D
  • Morphological process
  • Multi-fraction sediment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


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