loading page

Statistical characterization of erosion and sediment transport mechanics in shallow tidal environments. Part 1: erosion dynamics
  • +3
  • Andrea D'Alpaos,
  • Davide Tognin,
  • Laura Tommasini,
  • Luigi D'Alpaos,
  • Andrea Rinaldo,
  • Luca Carniello
Andrea D'Alpaos
University of Padova
Author Profile
Davide Tognin
University of Padova

Corresponding Author:davide.tognin@unipd.it

Author Profile
Laura Tommasini
Department fof Geosciences, University of Padova
Author Profile
Luigi D'Alpaos
University of Padova
Author Profile
Andrea Rinaldo
École Polytehnique Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL
Author Profile
Luca Carniello
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Padova
Author Profile


Wave-induced bottom shear stress is one of the leading processes that control sediment erosion dynamics in shallow tidal environments, because it is responsible for sediment resuspension and, jointly with tidal currents, for sediment reworking on tidal flats. Reliable descriptions of erosion events are foundational to effective frameworks relevant to the fate of tidal landscape evolution. However, the absence of long-term, measured time series of bottom shear stress (BSS) prevents a direct analysis of erosion dynamics. Here we adopted a fully-coupled, bi-dimensional numerical model to compute BSS generated by both tidal currents and wind waves in six historical configurations of the Venice Lagoon in the last four centuries. The one-year-long time series of the total BSS were analyzed based on the peak-over-threshold theory to statistically characterize events that exceed a given erosion threshold and investigate the effects of morphological modifications on spatial and temporal erosion patterns. Our analysis suggests that erosion events can be modeled as a marked Poisson process in the intertidal flats for all the considered configurations of the Venice Lagoon, because interarrival times, durations and intensities of the over-threshold exceedances are well described by exponentially distributed random variables. Moreover, while the intensity and duration of over-threshold events are temporally correlated, almost no correlation exists between them and interarrival times. The resulting statistical characterization allows for a straightforward computation of morphological indicators, such as erosion work, and paves the way to a novel synthetic, yet reliable, approach for long-term morphodynamic modeling of tidal environments.