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Xiaochen Zou
,
Alexander V. Babanin
,
Eric Werner Schulz
,
Richard Manasseh
, and
Changlong Guan

Abstract

When a wave breaks, it produces bubbles whose sizes depend on the breaking severity. This paper attempts to estimate wave breaking dissipation through a passive acoustic method. Initially, regular waves were forced to break in a flume. The breaking energy loss (severity) and the underwater acoustic noise were recorded. Two kinds of thresholds, in terms of sound wave amplitude and the ratio of sound wave height to period, respectively, were used together to identify the sound waves generated by newly formed bubbles. The frequencies of these sound waves are connected with the bubble sizes. Thus, a relationship between the mean bubble radius and the breaking severity was established and found to be linear. This laboratory relationship was then applied to Lake George data to study the breaking dissipation rate across the spectrum. An average acoustic spectral density threshold was proposed to identify breaking events from acoustic records in the field. The sound waves associated with bubble formation were selected by means of the same two kinds of threshold as used in the laboratory. Thus, the mean bubble radius of each breaking event was obtained and translated into the breaking severity. The values of experimental dissipation were compared with previous relevant results obtained through different methods as well as the wave breaking dissipation source terms ST6 (WAVEWATCH-III model) and are in good agreement with both of them.

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