Wave and Sediment Transport Modeling


Applied Coastal personnel perform detailed coastal processes analyses and numerical simulations of spectral wave transformation and nearshore sediment transport to support engineering design evaluations and project feasibility studies. Input spectral wave conditions from offshore measurements or wave hindcast simulations provide boundary parameters for propagating wave energy landward over variable bathymetry using spectral wave models such as STWAVE, SWAN, and MIKE 21 NSW. Output model results provide input for nearshore current models and the calculation of sediment transport rates. These numerical modeling procedures are used to evaluate potential project alternatives and the impacts of proposed engineering activities on physical environmental processes.

Once existing wave and sediment transport processes in a project area are understood, the impact of proposed engineering activities (e.g., dredging at an offshore borrow site; placement of beach fill) are determined within the context of natural variability within the system. Applied Coastal personnel have conducted many wave and sediment transport modeling projects along the east and Gulf coasts, including environmental impact evaluations of sand mining offshore Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York. In addition, wave modeling procedures are employed regularly to evaluate engineering designs related to beach nourishment projects. Most importantly, model results are always verified within the context of coastal process measurements and historical data sets to gage the reliability of model output.


  • Spectral wave analyses
  • Wave transformation simulations
  • Wave/current interaction
  • Longshore sediment transport rates
  • Sediment infilling rates
  • Cohesive sediment transport
  • Shoreline change predictions