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Energy saturation and phase speeds measured on a natural beach
Thornton, E.B.; Guza, R.T. (1982). Energy saturation and phase speeds measured on a natural beach. J. Geophys. Res. 87(C12): 9499-9508. hdl.handle.net/10.1029/JC087iC12p09499
In: Journal of Geophysical Research. American Geophysical Union: Richmond. ISSN 0148-0227, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Fluid flow; Gravity waves; Velocity; Water currents; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Thornton, E.B.
  • Guza, R.T.

Abstract
    Field measurements of wave height and speed from 7-m depth shoreward are described. The experiment plan consisted of a shore-normal transect of closely spaced (compared to a dominant wave length) velocity, pressure, and elevation sensors on an almost plane profile having an inshore slope of 1:50. As the waves shoal and begin to break, the dominant dissipative mechanism is due to turbulence generated at the crest, and wave heights become increasingly depth controlled as they progress across the surf zone. Wave heights in the inner surf zone are strongly depth dependent; the envelope of the wave heights is described by Hrms = 0.42 h. The depth dependence of the breaking wave height is shown to be related to the kinematic instability criterion. Celerity spectra were measured by using phase spectra calculated between pairs of adjacent sensors. Inshore of 4-m depth, the celerity was found distant over the energetic region of the spectrum. A ‘mean’ celerity was compared with linear theory and was within + 20% and -10%, showing good agreement for such a nonlinear, dissipative region.

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