Delft3D Coastal Hydrodynamic Model and SWAN Wave Model

These open-source, coupled hydrodynamic, sediment transport and wave models calculate flow, waves, and sediment transport given wind and tidal forcing, bathymetry and bed properties. Model can be run in 2D (depth-averaged) or 3D, with waves and flow coupled or uncoupled. A vegetation module can be used to represent effects of vegetation on flow. Bathymetric updating allows morphology to adjust during model simulations. 

Key reference: Lesser et al. 2004. Development and validation of a three-dimensional morphological model. Coastal Engineering 51, 883–915.

Key datasets:  knb-lter-vcr.146, knb-lter-vcr.164, knb-lter-vcr.276, knb-lter-vcr.266 [validation datasets]

These models are available from Deltares (

InputsRectilinear grid and bathymetry and bed properties. Wind speed and direction, tides at boundaries, bottom roughness, bed properties for sediment transport calculations. Vegetation density, diameter, and height if included. Adaptive time steps.
OutputsCurrent speed & direction, wave height and period, water level, bottom shear stress, suspended sediment concentrations and flux, erosion and deposition. 
Time scalesHours – centuries

Example of VCR model output (from Zhu et al. 2021): 

(a) Distribution of depth-averaged velocity at peak ebb from model run with effects of summer seagrass densities on flow and waves. (b) Wave height difference between model runs with and without seagrass wave attenuation effects during a strong summer wind wave event. The red dashed line shows the meadow outline.