Topographic and coastline influences on surf Eddies
Rip currents arise from the momentum flux associated with depth-induced breaking of incident surface gravity waves on beaches with irregular bottom topography. In 3D simulations with an idealized topographic configuration, uniform density, and a steady incident wave field, a striking enhancement of transient surf eddy variability occurs over irregular topography compared to smooth topography, especially at nearly normal incident wave angles. Alternatively, with highly oblique incident waves, transient shear instability is observed over smooth topography whereas for irregular topography, standing rip eddies are generated. In the presence of larger-scale coastline variations, mega-rip circulations emerge, and they are especially strong for embayments. In all cases with significant transient surf-eddy activity, the eddy-induced mean horizontal transport is a non-trivial component of the total mean transport, and sometimes it is much larger than the gravity-wave Stokes drift. Typically the transport by the eddy-induced flow partially cancels the Eulerian transport by the time- and/or alongshore-averaged currents, but not by enough to reverse the “residual” pattern of total transport.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Akan, C., McWilliams, J.C., Uchiyama, Y. (2020) Topographic and coastline influences on surf Eddies. Ocean Modelling, 147, 101565.