Longshore sediment transport by large-scale lake circulations at low-energy, non-tidal beaches

A field and model study

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Low-energy, non-tidal lake beaches are known to be subject to longshore morphodynamics, but little is known about how they are driven by wind and wave-driven currents. Lake Markermeer is a shallow (∼4 m deep), wind-dominated lake, of approximately 700 km2. A gradient in wind-induced water level set-up at the leeward shore induces a flow from the shallower to the deeper parts of the lake, thereby generating a large-scale, horizontal circulation. Flow measurements and results from a numerical Delft3D model of the lake show that these circulations impact the nearshore currents greatly, even more than wave-driven longshore currents for most wind conditions. From nearshore measurements at the first study site in lake Markermeer, we found a clear relation between longshore sediment transport capacity and the measured longshore volume flux. The model numerical can predict flow direction and magnitude for any wind condition. Using wind statistics, the net transport capacity for a short period or a long term mean can be predicted. The relation is confirmed for a second study site, which shows a distinct net transport capacity that could not be explained from wave-driven longshore flow alone. Concluding, large-scale lake circulations are of great significance for the morphological development of low-energy, non-tidal beaches in shallow, wind-driven water bodies. Knowledge of these circulations and their dependence on wind characteristics is a crucial factor to better understand and predict sediment losses of lake beaches.