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Wave Transformation and Wave-Driven Flow across a Steep Coral Reef

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  • 1 Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • | 2 MPI for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany
  • | 3 Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, California, and Nicholas School of the Environment Marine Laboratory, Duke University, Beaufort, North Carolina
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Abstract

Observations of waves, setup, and wave-driven mean flows were made on a steep coral forereef and its associated lagoonal system on the north shore of Moorea, French Polynesia. Despite the steep and complex geometry of the forereef, and wave amplitudes that are nearly equal to the mean water depth, linear wave theory showed very good agreement with data. Measurements across the reef illustrate the importance of including both wave transport (owing to Stokes drift), as well as the Eulerian mean transport when computing the fluxes over the reef. Finally, the observed setup closely follows the theoretical relationship derived from classic radiation stress theory, although the two parameters that appear in the model—one reflecting wave breaking, the other the effective depth over the reef crest—must be chosen to match theory to data.

Corresponding author address: Stephen G. Monismith, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305-4020. E-mail: monismith@stanford.edu

Abstract

Observations of waves, setup, and wave-driven mean flows were made on a steep coral forereef and its associated lagoonal system on the north shore of Moorea, French Polynesia. Despite the steep and complex geometry of the forereef, and wave amplitudes that are nearly equal to the mean water depth, linear wave theory showed very good agreement with data. Measurements across the reef illustrate the importance of including both wave transport (owing to Stokes drift), as well as the Eulerian mean transport when computing the fluxes over the reef. Finally, the observed setup closely follows the theoretical relationship derived from classic radiation stress theory, although the two parameters that appear in the model—one reflecting wave breaking, the other the effective depth over the reef crest—must be chosen to match theory to data.

Corresponding author address: Stephen G. Monismith, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305-4020. E-mail: monismith@stanford.edu
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