Applications of process-based morphodynamic models are often constrained by limited availability of data on bed composition, which may have a considerable impact on the modeled morphodynamic development. One may even distinguish a period of "morphodynamic spin-up" in which the model generates the bed level according to some ill-defined initial bed composition rather than describing the realistic behavior of the system. The present paper proposes a methodology to generate bed composition of multiple sand and/or mud fractions that can act as the initial condition for the process-based numerical model Delft3D. The bed composition generation (BCG) run does not include bed level changes, but does permit the redistribution of multiple sediment fractions over the modeled domain. The model applies the concept of an active layer that may differ in sediment composition above an underlayer with fixed composition. In the case of a BCG run, the bed level is kept constant, whereas the bed composition can change. The approach is applied to San Pablo Bay in California, USA. Model results show that the BCG run reallocates sand and mud fractions over the model domain. Initially, a major sediment reallocation takes place, but development rates decrease in the longer term. Runs that take the outcome of a BCG run as a starting point lead to more gradual morphodynamic development. Sensitivity analysis shows the impact of variations in the morphological factor, the active layer thickness, and wind waves. An important but difficult to characterize criterion for a successful application of a BCG run is that it should not lead to a bed composition that fixes the bed so that it dominates the "natural" morphodynamic development of the system. Future research will focus on a decadal morphodynamic hindcast and comparison with measured bathymetries in San Pablo Bay so that the proposed methodology can be tested and optimized. ?? 2010 The Author(s).
Additional publication details
Bed composition generation for morphodynamic modeling: Case study of San Pablo Bay in California, USA