Energy saturation and phase speeds measured on a natural beach
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Field measurements of wave height and speed from 7-m depth shoreward are described. The experiment plan consisted of a shore-normal transect of closely spaced (compared to a dominant wave length) velocity, pressure, and elevation sensors on an almost plane profile having an inshore slope of 1:50. As the waves shoal and begin to break, the dominant dissipative mechanism is due to turbulence generated at the crest, and wave heights become increasingly depth controlled as they progress across the surf zone. Wave heights in the inner surf zone are strongly depth independent: the envelope of the wave heights is described by H/sub rms/ = 0.42 h. The depth dependence of the breaking wave height is shown to be related to the kinematic instability criterion. Celerity spectra were measured by using phase spectra calculated between pairs of adjacent sensors. Inshore of 4-m depth, the celerity was found distant over the energetic region of the spectrum. A 'mean' celerity was compared with linear theory and was within +20% and -10%, showing good agreement for such a nonlinear, dissipative region.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/JC087iC12p09499
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