Seafloor ripples created by waves from Hurricane Ivan on the west Florida shelf
Bowers, Colleen Marie
MetadataShow full item record
LocationWest Florida shelf
Recent studies have shown that the presence of sand ripples on the seabed improves sonar detection of buried mines at sub-critical angles. Sidescan sonar data of ripples on the west Florida shelf were collected as part of ONR's Ripples Departmental Research Initiative (DRI) September 26-29th and November 7-9th, 2004. Hurricane Ivan, the strongest storm of the 2004 hurricane season, passed over the experiment site a week before the first data collection. This study focuses on the ripples created by Ivan. Average relict ripple wavelengths left after the storm were found to increase with water depth (50 cm, 62 cm, and 83 cm in 20, 30, and 50 meter water depths) despite the fact that orbital diameter decreases with water depth. Ripple prediction requires information about surface gravity waves and sediment grain size. The most reliable offshore wave field available was created with Wavewatch III by Naval Postgraduate School scientists. These waves were inputted into Delft3D WAVE, incorporating the nearshore wave model SWAN to predict waves at the locations where ripples were measured. Orbital motions at the seabed and grain size were inputted into a time-dependent ripple model with varying dissipation parameters to estimate sand ripples created by Hurricane Ivan. Ripple wavelength was found to be more strongly dependent on grain size than wave dissipation.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution September 2006
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