Surfzone to inner-shelf exchange estimated from dye tracer balances
Clark, David B.
Guza, R. T.
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Surfzone and inner-shelf tracer dispersion are observed at an approximately alongshore-uniform beach. Fluorescent Rhodamine WT dye, released near the shoreline continuously for 6.5 h, is advected alongshore by breaking-wave- and wind-driven currents, and ejected offshore from the surfzone to the inner-shelf by transient rip currents. Novel aerial-based multispectral dye concentration images and in situ measurements of dye, waves, and currents provide tracer transport and dilution observations spanning about 350 m cross-shore and 3 km alongshore. Downstream dilution of near-shoreline dye follows power law decay with exponent −0.33, implying that a tenfold increase in alongshore distance reduces the concentration about 50%. Coupled surfzone and inner-shelf dye mass balances close, and in 5 h, roughly half of the surfzone-released dye is transported offshore to the inner-shelf. Observed cross-shore transports are parameterized well ( inline image, best fit slope inline image) using a bulk exchange velocity and mean surfzone to inner-shelf dye concentration difference. The best fit cross-shore exchange velocity inline image is similar to a temperature-derived exchange velocity on another day with similar wave conditions. The inline image magnitude and observed inner-shelf dye length scales, time scales, and vertical structure indicate the dominance of transient rip currents in surfzone to inner-shelf cross-shore exchange during moderate waves at this alongshore-uniform beach.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2015. 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 120 (2015): 6289–6308, doi:10.1002/2015JC010844.
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