Non-Hydrostatic Modelling of Waves and Currents over Subtle Bathymetric Features

Monday, 15 December 2014
Esther Gomes1, Ryan P Mulligan1 and Jesse McNinch2, (1)Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada, (2)US Army Corps of Engineers, Field Research Facility, Kitty Hawk, NC, United States
Localized areas with high rates of shoreline erosion on beaches, referred to as erosional hotspots, can occur near clusters of relict shore-oblique sandbars. Wave transformation and wave-driven currents over these morphological features could provide an understanding of the hydrodynamic-morphologic coupling mechanism that connects them to the occurrence of erosional hotspots. To investigate this, we use the non-hydrostatic SWASH model that phase-resolves the free surface and fluid motions throughout the water column, allowing for high resolution of wave propagation and breaking processes. In this study we apply a coupled system of nested models including SWAN over a large domain of the North Carolina shelf with smaller nested SWASH domains in areas of interest to determine the hydrodynamic processes occurring over shore oblique bars. In this presentation we focus on a high resolution grid (10 vertical layers, 10 m horizontal resolution) applied to the Duck region with model validation from acoustic wave and current data, and observations from the Coastal Lidar And Radar Imaging System (CLARIS). By altering the bathymetry input for each model run based on bathymetric surveys and comparing the predicted and observed wave heights and current profiles, the effects of subtle bathymetric perturbations have on wave refraction, wave breaking, surf zone currents and vorticity are investigated. The ability to predict wave breaking and hydrodynamics with a non-hydrostatic model may improve our understanding of surf zone dynamics in relation to morphologic conditions.