Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Circulation and sediment transport around offshore banks

A multi-disciplinary study of the Middlekerke Bank system off the Belgium coastline has revealed new scientific findings about the system and its interaction with the environment. Use has been made of advanced computer models and especially advanced field data, which was collected using state-of-the-art field equipment, both near the offshore banks and on adjacent beaches at Nieuwpoort. New measurement techniques were successfully developed to both trace sand movement, using new magnetic tracers as well as conventional fluorescent tracers aided by new automated tracking systems, and to measure the shear stress produced on the seabed by environmental flows using a new shear-stress-meter. OSCR radar was used successfully to measure surface currents over the banks and demonstrated the refracting influence of bank bathymetry on the local tidal flows: a fact confirmed by 3D computer modelling in which the effects of drag from the large sand saves on the sides of the banks was included.

The computer and field monitoring work also demonstrated that the existing bank was in equilibrium with local environmental conditions but that changes in future crest levels will depend on changes in wave climate: more intense wave/wind action combined with a rising mean sea level will lead to increased wave attack on sectors of the Belgium coastline, as demonstrated by computer modelling. Development of instrumentation on the beaches and computer modelling also demonstrated beach response to local environmental conditions as well as the effect on ridge and runnel systems. The new equipment produced during the project and the usefulness of the computer models in describing environmental changes should be of direct benefit to future engineering and research studies.

Contact

Brian O'CONNOR, (Professor of Maritime Civil Engineering)
Tél.: +44-151-7945232
Fax: +44-151-7945218
E-mail