Field observations of the evolution of plunging-wave shapes
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There are few high-resolution field observations of the water surface during breaking owing to the difficulty of collecting spatially dense measurements in the surf zone, and thus the factors influencing breaking-wave shape in field conditions remain poorly understood. Here, the shape and evolution of plunging breakers is analyzed quantitatively using three-dimensional scans of the water surface collected at high spatial and temporal resolution with a multi-beam terrestrial lidar scanner. The observed internal void shapes in plunging breakers agree well with previously developed theoretical shapes at the onset of breaking, and become more elongated and less steep as breaking progresses. The normalized void area increases as the local bottom slope steepens and as the breaking depth decreases. The void shape becomes more circular as the local bottom slope and the ratio of breaking water depth to wavelength increase, as well as in conditions with opposing winds.
© The Author(s), 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in O’Dea, A., Brodie, K., & Elgar, S. Field observations of the evolution of plunging-wave shapes. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(16), (2021): e2021GL093664, https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL093664.
Suggested CitationO’Dea, A., Brodie, K., & Elgar, S. (2021). Field observations of the evolution of plunging-wave shapes. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(16), e2021GL093664.
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