Rijnsdorp D.P.,Environmental Fluid Mechanics Section |
Zijlema M.,Environmental Fluid Mechanics Section
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans | Year: 2015
This paper presents a comprehensive numerical study into the infragravity-wave dynamics at a field site, characterized by a gently sloping barred beach. The nonhydrostatic wave-flow model SWASH was used to simulate the local wavefield for a range of wave conditions (including mild and storm conditions). The extensive spatial coverage of the model allowed us to analyze the infragravity-wave dynamics at spatial scales not often covered before. Overall, the model predicted a wavefield that was representative of the natural conditions, supporting the model application to analyze the wave dynamics. The infragravity-wave field was typically dominated by leaky waves, except near the outer bar where bar-trapped edge waves were observed. Relative contributions of bar-trapped waves peaked during mild conditions, when they explained up to 50% of the infragravity variance. Near the outer bar, the infragravity-wave growth was partly explained by nonlinear energy transfers from short waves. This growth was strongest for mild conditions, and decreased for more energetic conditions when short waves were breaking at the outer bar. Further shoreward, infragravity waves lost most of their energy, due to a combination of nonlinear transfers, bottom friction, and infragravity-wave breaking. Nonlinear transfers were only effective near the inner bar, whereas near the shoreline (where losses were strongest) the dissipation was caused by the combined effect of bottom friction and breaking. This study demonstrated the model's potential to study wave dynamics at field scales not easily covered by in situ observations. © 2015. American Geophysical Union.