The role of morphology and wave-current interaction at tidal inlets : an idealized modeling analysis
Geyer, W. Rockwell
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KeywordWave-current interaction; Tidal inlets; Nearshore; Hydrodynamics; Plane jet; Vortex force method; Rip current; COAWST modeling system
The outflowing currents from tidal inlets are influenced both by the morphology of the ebb-tide shoal and interaction with incident surface gravity waves. Likewise, the propagation and breaking of incident waves are affected by the morphology and the strength and structure of the outflowing current. The 3-D Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport (COAWST) modeling system is applied to numerically analyze the interaction between currents, waves, and bathymetry in idealized inlet configurations. The bathymetry is found to be a dominant controlling variable. In the absence of an ebb shoal and with weak wave forcing, a narrow outflow jet extends seaward with little lateral spreading. The presence of an ebb-tide shoal produces significant pressure gradients in the region of the outflow, resulting in enhanced lateral spreading of the jet. Incident waves cause lateral spreading and limit the seaward extent of the jet, due both to conversion of wave momentum flux and enhanced bottom friction. The interaction between the vorticity of the outflow jet and the wave stokes drift is also an important driving force for the lateral spreading of the plume. For weak outflows, the outflow jet is actually enhanced by strong waves when there is a channel across the bar, due to the “return current” effect. For both strong and weak outflows, waves increase the alongshore transport in both directions from the inlet due to the wave-induced setup over the ebb shoal. Wave breaking is more influenced by the topography of the ebb shoal than by wave-current interaction, although strong outflows show intensified breaking at the head of the main channel.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 119 (2014): 8818–8837, doi:10.1002/2014JC010191.
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