Setup in the surfzone
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La Jolla, CA
Egmond, The Netherlands
Terschelling, The Netherlands
Surfzone wave height transformation and wave-breaking-driven increases in the mean sea level (setup) are examined on alongshore-uniform beaches with alongshore homogeneous and inhomogeneous wave forcing. While previously derived models predict wave heights adequately (root-mean-square errors typically less than 20%), the models can be improved by tuning a free parameter or by using a new parameterization based on the deep-water wave height. Based on a sensitivity analysis of the cross-shore momentum balance used to predict setup, a one-dimensional (1-D) model is developed that includes wave rollers and bottom stress owing to the mean offshore-directed flow. The model predicts setup accurately at three alongshore homogeneous field sites, as well as at a site where the incident wave field is alongshore non-uniform, suggesting that setup is driven primarily by the cross-shore (1-D) forcing. Furthermore, alongshore gradients of setup can be important to driving alongshore flows in the surfzone, and the 1-D setup model predicts these gradients accurately enough to simulate the observed flows.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution September 2007
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