Wave-current interaction in Willapa Bay
Warner, John C.
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This paper describes the importance of wave-current interaction in an inlet-estuary system. The three-dimensional, fully coupled, Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment Transport (COAWST) modeling system was applied in Willapa Bay (Washington State) from 22 to 29 October 1998 that included a large storm event. To represent the interaction between waves and currents, the vortex-force method was used. Model results were compared with water elevations, currents, and wave measurements obtained by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. In general, a good agreement between field data and computed results was achieved, although some discrepancies were also observed in regard to wave peak directions in the most upstream station. Several numerical experiments that considered different forcing terms were run in order to identify the effects of each wind, tide, and wave-current interaction process. Comparison of the horizontal momentum balances results identified that wave-breaking-induced acceleration is one of the leading terms in the inlet area. The enhancement of the apparent bed roughness caused by waves also affected the values and distribution of the bottom shear stress. The pressure gradient showed significant changes with respect to the pure tidal case. During storm conditions the momentum balance in the inlet shares the characteristics of tidal-dominated and wave-dominated surf zone environments. The changes in the momentum balance caused by waves were manifested both in water level and current variations. The most relevant effect on hydrodynamics was a wave-induced setup in the inner part of the estuary.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2011. 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 116 (2011): C12014, doi:10.1029/2011JC007387.