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Wave Friction Factors in Nearshore Sands

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  • 1 Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
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Abstract

Wave friction factors are estimated from vertical profiles of near-bed turbulence and horizontal velocity spanning the wave bottom boundary layer. Measured values are partitioned by bed state, which ranged from irregular ripples to flat bed, and are examined as a function of two traditionally selected parameters—physical bed roughness and outer flow Reynolds number. The measurements are from two field experiments in very different nearshore environments: a relatively protected unbarred pocket beach and a linear barred beach exposed to the open shelf (Duck). Measured wave friction factors are remarkably similar for the two beaches and are highest for low-energy rippled beds and lowest for the high-energy flat bed conditions. The reduction in the friction factor for high-energy conditions corresponds to a decrease in the physical roughness of the bed as wave energy increases. As a function of relative roughness, measured friction factors are generally consistent with previous laboratory results and theoretical results for the high-energy cases, but the predicted values for the low-energy rippled beds show some significant differences. A new expression is derived for the bed roughness and is found to have a stronger dependence on ripple steepness than previously suggested laboratory-based relationships. Estimated friction factors exhibit a power-law dependence on Reynolds number and occupy a narrow band within the rough turbulent and transition regions.

Corresponding author address: C. Smyth, Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford St., Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada. Email: csmyth@phys.ocean.dal.ca

Abstract

Wave friction factors are estimated from vertical profiles of near-bed turbulence and horizontal velocity spanning the wave bottom boundary layer. Measured values are partitioned by bed state, which ranged from irregular ripples to flat bed, and are examined as a function of two traditionally selected parameters—physical bed roughness and outer flow Reynolds number. The measurements are from two field experiments in very different nearshore environments: a relatively protected unbarred pocket beach and a linear barred beach exposed to the open shelf (Duck). Measured wave friction factors are remarkably similar for the two beaches and are highest for low-energy rippled beds and lowest for the high-energy flat bed conditions. The reduction in the friction factor for high-energy conditions corresponds to a decrease in the physical roughness of the bed as wave energy increases. As a function of relative roughness, measured friction factors are generally consistent with previous laboratory results and theoretical results for the high-energy cases, but the predicted values for the low-energy rippled beds show some significant differences. A new expression is derived for the bed roughness and is found to have a stronger dependence on ripple steepness than previously suggested laboratory-based relationships. Estimated friction factors exhibit a power-law dependence on Reynolds number and occupy a narrow band within the rough turbulent and transition regions.

Corresponding author address: C. Smyth, Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford St., Halifax, NS B3H 4J1, Canada. Email: csmyth@phys.ocean.dal.ca

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