Imminent reversal of the residual flow through the Marsdiep tidal inlet into the Dutch Wadden Sea based on multiyear ferry-borne acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) observations

Johan Van Der Molen*, Sjoerd Groeskamp, Leo R.M. Maas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The Dutch Wadden Sea is a UN World Heritage Site connected to the North Sea by multiple tidal inlets. Although there are strong tidal currents flowing through these inlets, the magnitude and direction of the residual circulation in the western Dutch Wadden Sea is important for sediment, salinity and nutrient balances. We found that the direction of this residual flow is reversing. This residual circulation has been the subject of various studies since the 1970s, in which substantially different net volume fluxes were presented. Differences in tidal conditions in the main inlets, tidal rectification and meteorology were identified as driving mechanisms. Here we analysed almost 13 years of acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) observations collected on the ferry crossing the Marsdiep tidal inlet in the Dutch Wadden Sea since 2009. The results are combined with earlier investigations covering the period 1998-2009. We find a significant trend in the magnitude of the residual volume flux, with decreasing export to the North Sea and with occasional imports observed in recent years. We hypothesise that this trend is related predominantly to changes in tides in the North Sea, which are caused by increased strength and duration of stratification in response to global warming. With warming projected to continue, we expect the residual flow in the Marsdiep to continue to reverse to full inflow within the current decade, with potential knock-on effects for the sediment budget and ecosystem of the western Wadden Sea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1805-1816
Number of pages12
JournalOcean Science
Volume18
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2022

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Imminent reversal of the residual flow through the Marsdiep tidal inlet into the Dutch Wadden Sea based on multiyear ferry-borne acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) observations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this