Sediment dynamics in shallow tidal basins: In situ observations, satellite retrievals, and numerical modeling in the Venice Lagoon
The morphological evolution of shallow tidal systems strongly depends on gradients in transport that control sediment erosion and deposition. A spatially refined quantitative description of suspended sediment patterns and dynamics is therefore a key requirement to address issues connected with dynamical trends, responses, and conservation of these systems. Here we use a combination of numerical models of sediment transport dynamics, high temporal resolution point observations, and high spatial resolution remote sensing data to overcome the intrinsic limitations of traditional monitoring approaches and to establish the robustness of numerical models in reproducing space-time suspended sediment concentration (SSC) patterns. The comparison of SSC distributions in the Venice Lagoon (Italy) computed with a numerical model with SSC retrievals from remote sensing data allows us to define the ability of the model to properly describe spatial patterns and gradients in the SSC fields. The use of point observations similarly allows us to constrain the model temporally, thus leadingtoa complete space-time evaluationofmodel abilities. Our results highlight the fundamental control exerted on sediment transport intensity and patterns by the sheltering effect associated with artificial and natural intertidal landforms. Furthermore, we show how the stabilizing effect of benthic vegetation is a main control of sediment dynamics at the system scale, confirming a notion previously established in the laboratory or at small field scales. © 2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Carniello, L; Silvestri, S; Marani, M; D'Alpaos, A; Volpe, V; Defina, A
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