Alongshore Momentum Balances in the Nearshore
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF OCEANOGRAPHY
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The one-dimensional, time-averaged over many wave periods alongshore momentum balance between forcing by wind and breaking waves and the bottom stress is examined with field observations spanning a wide range of conditions on a barred beach. Near-bottom horizontal currents were measured for 2 months at 15 locations along a cross-shore transect extending 750 m from the shoreline to 8-m water depth. The hourly averaged bottom stress was estimated from observed currents using a quadratic drag law. The wave radiation stress was estimated in 8-m depth from an array of pressure sensors, and the wind stress was estimated from an anemometer at the seaward end of a nearby pier. The combined wind and wave forcing integrated over the entire cross-shore transect is balanced by the integrated bottom stress. The wind stress contributes about one third of the forcing over the transect. Analysis of the momentum balances in different cross-shore regions shows that in the surf zone, wave forcing is much larger than wind forcing and that the bottom drag coefficient is larger in the surf zone than farther seaward, consistent with earlier studies.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography