Surfzone alongshore advective accelerations: observations and modeling

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jeff Hansen1, Britt Raubenheimer2 and Steve Elgar2, (1)University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia, (2)WHOI, Woods Hole, MA, United States
The sources, magnitudes, and impacts of non-linear advective accelerations on alongshore surfzone currents are investigated with observations and a numerical model. Previous numerical modeling results have indicated that advective accelerations are an important contribution to the alongshore force balance, and are required to understand spatial variations in alongshore currents (which may result in spatially variable morphological change). However, most prior observational studies have neglected advective accelerations in the alongshore force balance. Using a numerical model (Delft3D) to predict optimal sensor locations, a dense array of 26 colocated current meters and pressure sensors was deployed between the shoreline and 3-m water depth over a 200 by 115 m region near Duck, NC in fall 2013. The array included 7 cross- and 3 alongshore transects. Here, observational and numerical estimates of the dominant forcing terms in the alongshore balance (pressure and radiation-stress gradients) and the advective acceleration terms will be compared with each other. In addition, the numerical model will be used to examine the force balance, including sources of velocity gradients, at a higher spatial resolution than possible with the instrument array. Preliminary numerical results indicate that at O(10-100 m) alongshore scales, bathymetric variations and the ensuing alongshore variations in the wave field and subsequent forcing are the dominant sources of the modeled velocity gradients and advective accelerations. Additional simulations and analysis of the observations will be presented. Funded by NSF and ASDR&E.