The present research aims to investigate the dynamics of a single laboratory irregular wave, characterized by a narrow-banded spectrum and developing on a sloping sand bottom, in intermediate waters up to the surf zone. Experiments focused on the wave shoaling region, in order to examine how the wave is affected by breaking induced turbulence offshore the surf zone. A 3D acoustic Doppler velocimeter was used to measure the three wave velocity components, which were all processed to evaluate the time-averaged vertical distributions of orbital velocities, wave and turbulent Reynolds shear stresses and turbulent intensities. The vertical distributions of the phase-averaged velocity components, turbulent kinetic energy and transport of turbulence were also analysed. The adopted phase-averaging technique was applied to each investigated measurement point. Therefore, the crucial element of the study is that all the analysed values derive directly from real measurements and are not approximated by any kind of interpolation. The study confirmed some dynamic behaviour in the shoaling zone already known in the literature, such as the typical cell-type flow pattern of the mean flow and the necessity to evaluate the turbulent kinetic energy with all the three velocity components, when available, which would otherwise be underestimated. Referring to the time-averaged wave and Reynolds shear stresses, a contribution was added to the open debate on their order of magnitude. The measured wave Reynolds shear stresses were also compared with the results of the model by Zou et al. (J Geophys Res 111:C09032, 2006), confirming the behaviour typical of dissipative breaking waves. The analysis of turbulence transport in the shoaling zone revealed that it is seaward directed close to the surface and landward directed close to the bottom. The results presented in the paper can be extended only to other analogous flow conditions.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: May 17, 2013
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