Tidal modulation of infragravity waves via nonlinear energy losses in the surfzone
Thomson, James M.
Herbers, T. H. C.
Guza, R. T.
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The strong tidal modulation of infragravity (200 to 20 s period) waves observed on the southern California shelf is shown to be the result of nonlinear transfers of energy from these low-frequency long waves to higher-frequency motions. The energy loss occurs in the surfzone, and is stronger as waves propagate over the convex low-tide beach profile than over the concave high-tide profile, resulting in a tidal modulation of seaward-radiated infragravity energy. Although previous studies have attributed infragravity energy losses in the surfzone to bottom drag and turbulence, theoretical estimates using both observations and numerical simulations suggest nonlinear transfers dominate. The observed beach profiles and energy transfers are similar along several km of the southern California coast, providing a mechanism for the tidal modulation of infragravity waves observed in bottom-pressure and seismic records on the continental shelf and in the deep ocean.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 33 (2006): L05601, doi:10.1029/2005GL025514.