Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 68, Issue 4–5, pp 589–602 | Cite as

Observation and numerical modeling of tidal dune dynamics

  • Arnaud Doré
  • Philippe Bonneton
  • Vincent Marieu
  • Thierry Garlan
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 8th International conference on Coastal Dynamics, Helsingør, Denmark, 12-16 June 2017


Tidal sand dune dynamics is observed for two tidal cycles in the Arcachon tidal inlet, southwest France. An array of instruments is deployed to measure bathymetric and current variations along dune profiles. Based on the measurements, dune crest horizontal and vertical displacements are quantified and show important dynamics in phase with tidal currents. We observed superimposed ripples on the dune stoss side and front, migrating and changing polarity as tidal currents reverse. A 2D RANS numerical model is used to simulate the morphodynamic evolution of a flat non-cohesive sand bed submitted to a tidal current. The model reproduces the bed evolution until a field of sand bedforms is obtained that are comparable with observed superimposed ripples in terms of geometrical dimensions and dynamics. The model is then applied to simulate the dynamics of a field of large sand dunes of similar size as the dunes observed in situ. In both cases, simulation results compare well with measurements qualitatively and quantitatively. This research allows for a better understanding of tidal sand dune and superimposed ripple morphodynamics and opens new perspectives for the use of numerical models to predict their evolution.


Dunes Ripples Sediment transport Morphodynamics Measurements Tide Numerical modeling 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers and the Ocean Dynamics Editor for their constructive comments that contributed to improve the manuscript.

Funding information

This research is supported by the SHOM (Service Hydrographique de la Marine) under the research contract 12CR4. The deployment of the echosounder and the GPS was financed by the DRONEO project (EPOC/CNRS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Danish Hydraulics InstituteHørsholmDenmark
  2. 2.Université de Bordeaux, CNRS; UMR 5805-EPOCTalenceFrance
  3. 3.SHOM; HOM/REC-CFuD/SédimentologieBrest Cedex 2France

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