I am doing a paper about coastal processes and I was told that I should include a sediment transport modeling to further examine my geophysical findings. I was reading in the net and found that Delft3D Suite seems to be the best option, however I have no funding to pay for a license because it is all science.

Does anyone have software suggestions to model coarse sediment transport?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't have much in the way of an answer, but someone I trust already shared a good link on Twitter... $\endgroup$
    – Matt Hall
    Mar 25, 2015 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ did you get anywhere with this? It would be good to hear if you found any others... $\endgroup$
    – Matt Hall
    May 12, 2015 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


I think the best option for sediment transport modeling is the Community Sediment Transport Modeling System (CSTMS) package that was developed for ROMS. CSTMS was created by a group of sediment transport modelers lead by the USGS. One of the many benefits is that it is open-source and, thus, free. The model was designed for realistic simulations of processes causing sediment transport in the coastal ocean (estuaries, nearshore regions, and the continental shelf). Details on the package and its implementation are found in Warner et al (2008). The people from FVCOM implemented this package.

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The most up-to-date version of the sediment transport module is part of the Coupled Ocean – Atmosphere – Wave – Sediment Transport (COAWST) modeling system. A good description of the model and its capabilities is given in Warner et al. (2010). The code can be downloaded from here.

The current version of CSTMS can model both cohesive (mud) and non-cohesive sediment (sand) sediments, bedload transport and sediment deposition and erosion caused by waves and currents.

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    $\begingroup$ Also, people can contact me directly $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Mar 25, 2015 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ Would you like to declare an interest, @aretxabaleta? ;-) $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2015 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ Only slightly. @SimonW, don't tell anybody... but I might or might not be one of the people developing and maintaining the code. $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Mar 25, 2015 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ grin (123456) $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2015 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ @aretxabaleta thanks for the reply and links, nice answer. One additional question, the CSTMS code is only available as part of the COAWST code? or can I only download the CSTMS code from a specific link? this is because I do not have either a username or password. I have in mind the Warner et al 2008 paper, I mean, replicate their real case example. Thanks again. $\endgroup$
    – Gery
    Mar 26, 2015 at 13:29

Large parts of Delft3D - including, I think, the sediment transport module - are available in an open source form. The GUI is not currently open source, but (a) Deltares have been offering licences for this for free for academic use; (b) if they are no longer doing this, it is entirely possible to use the software without the GUI.

FVCOM also has a sediment transport module, and is available free for academic use.

This isn't what you asked, but I will note that if you don't have experience with hydrodynamic modelling, or access to somebody who does, then the use of these models may have a steep and time-consuming learning curve.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Simon for the reply, how difficult can it be? I have ~10 years of coding, but about a couple of years reading about sediment transport, would you share some fundamental practical examples to solve basic models please? $\endgroup$
    – Gery
    Mar 25, 2015 at 12:36

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