Predicting tropical cyclone structure and evolution remains challenging. Particularly, the surface wave interactions with the continental shelf and their impact on tropical cyclones have received very little attention. Through a series of state-of-the-art high-resolution, fully-coupled ocean-wave and atmosphere-ocean-wave experiments, we show here, for the first time, that in presence of continental shelf waves can cause substantial cooling of the sea surface. Through whitecapping there is a transfer of momentum from the surface which drives deeper vertical mixing. It is the waves and not just the wind which become the major driver of stratified coastal ocean ahead-of-cyclone cooling. In the fully-coupled atmosphere-ocean-wave model a negative feedback is found. The maximum wind speed is weaker and the damaging footprint area of hurricane-force winds is reduced by up to 50% due to the strong wave induced ocean cooling ahead. Including wave-ocean coupling is important to improve land falling tropical cyclone intensity predictions for the highly populated and vulnerable coasts.
We investigate the role of the ocean's heat engine in setting horizontal circulation using a numerical model of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea can be seen as a virtual laboratory - a compromise between realistic global models which are hampered by long equilibration times and idealized basin geometry models which are not constrained by observations. We find that increases in vertical mixing drive stronger thermally direct overturning and consequent conversion of available potential to kinetic energy. Numerical solutions with water mass structures closest to observations overturn 0.02-0.04 x 10^6 m^3/s (Sv) representing the first estimate of Caspian Sea overturning. Our results also suggest that the overturning is thermally-forced increasing in intensity with increasing vertical diffusivity. Finally, stronger thermally direct overturning is associated with a stronger horizontal circulation in the Caspian Sea. This suggests the ocean's heat engine can strongly impact broader horizontal circulations in the ocean.
Catastrophe risk models are used to assess and manage the economic and societal impacts of natural perils like tropical cyclones. Large ensembles of event simulations are required to generate useful model output. For example, to estimate the risk due to wind driven storm surge and waves in tropical cyclone risk models, computationally efficient parametric representations of the wind forcing are required to enable the generation of large ensembles. This paper presents new results on the impact of including explicit representations of extra-tropical transitioning in parametric wind models used to force storm surge and wave simulations in a catastrophe risk modelling context. Extra-tropical transitioning is particularly important in modelling risk on the Japanese coastline, as roughly 40% of typhoons hitting the Japanese mainland are transitioning before landfall. Using both a historical and idealized track set, we compare maximum storm surge and wave footprints along the Japanese coastline for models that include, and do not include, explicit representations of extra-tropical transitioning. We find that the inclusion of extra-tropical transitioning leads to lower storm surge (10-20%) and waves (5-15%) on the southern Japanese coast, with significantly higher storm surge and waves along the northern coast (25-50%). The results of this paper demonstrates that useful risk assessment of coastal flood risk in Japan must consider the extra-tropical transitioning process.
Located in the mid-latitudes, the Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed basin in the world. A fully-coupled atmosphere-ocean-wave model of the Caspian Sea at high resolution (8km) for a period of three years is presented. After validating each component of the modelling platform, the wave state of the Caspian Sea is studied. Results show very different wave regimes between the three different basins, a strong seasonality and an almost swell-free state. It is shown here that waves modify the horizontal eddy viscosity and vertical heat diffusion. However, due to a reasonably weak annual wave state, these effects are restricted to the upper-ocean layer (< 30 m) except during the most severe events (100 m). Three main experiments are conducted: 1) the ROMS ocean model forced by atmospheric reanalysis (CFSR), 2) ROMS coupled with the atmospheric model WRF and 3) the impact of wave-induced processes. The seasonality of the Caspian Sea is accurately captured in each experiment which highlights a rapid warming of the sea surface temperature (SST) in spring while the mixed layer depths (MLD) become very rapidly shallow (shifting from over 100 m to 15 m in two months). Contrarily, a gentle cooling of the SST accompanied with a deepening of the MLD is modelled during autumn and winter. The results also show a significant improvement of the model skill in the representation of the dynamics when ROMS is coupled to WRF. Finally, as ocean surface waves imply feedback at the interface atmosphere-ocean through the transfer of momentum, mass and heat, we investigate their potential effects on the Caspian Sea dynamics. Results are mixed and show a reasonably weak impact of wave-induced processes. While waves have a negligible effect during the winter as wave-induced mixing is confined to the MLD, the summer global SST are less accurately modelled due to the enhancement of mixing in shallow MLDs. However the SST bias, temperature at a subsurface location are improved.
On rip-channelled beaches, intense rip currents are driven by waves due to alongshore variations in breaking-induced wave energy dissipation. This study addresses for the first time the potential development of tidal currents superimposed onto the wave-driven circulation. This phenomenon is observed on a rip-channelled meso-macrotidal beach (Biscarrosse, SW France). Field measurements show 20 to 45% stronger mean rip velocities during ebb than during flood. Numerical experiments reveal that this asymmetry is the signature of tidal currents developing over the rip channel morphology. This asymmetry is found to increase roughly linearly with increasing tidal range. These results are significant to beach safety and lifeguarding and stimulate further numerical exercises.
Unlike the rapid sea ice losses reported in the Arctic, satellite observations show an overall increase in Antarctic sea ice concentration over recent decades. However, observations of decadal trends in Antarctic ice thickness, and hence ice volume, do not currently exist. In this study a model of the Southern Ocean and its sea ice, forced by atmospheric reanalyses, is used to assess 1992–2010 trends in ice thickness and volume. The model successfully reproduces observations of mean ice concentration, thickness, and drift, and decadal trends in ice concentration and drift, imparting some confidence in the hindcasted trends in ice thickness. The model suggests that overall Antarctic sea ice volume has increased by approximately 30 km3 yr−1 (0.4% yr−1) as an equal result of areal expansion (20 × 103 km2 yr−1 or 0.2% yr−1) and thickening (1.5 mm yr−1 or 0.2% yr−1). This ice volume increase is an order of magnitude smaller than the Arctic decrease, and about half the size of the increased freshwater supply from the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Similarly to the observed ice concentration trends, the small overall increase in modeled ice volume is actually the residual of much larger opposing regional trends. Thickness changes near the ice edge follow observed concentration changes, with increasing concentration corresponding to increased thickness. Ice thickness increases are also found in the inner pack in the Amundsen and Weddell Seas, where the model suggests that observed ice-drift trends directed toward the coast have caused dynamical thickening in autumn and winter. Modeled changes are predominantly dynamic in origin in the Pacific sector and thermodynamic elsewhere.
Increased loads of land-based pollutants through river plumes are a major threat to the coastal water quality, ecosystems and sanitary heath. Identifying the coastal areas impacted by potentially polluted freshwaters is necessary to inform management policies and prevent degradation of the coastal environment. This study presents the first monitoring of the Adour River turbid plume (south-eastern Bay of Biscay, France) using multi-annual MODIS data. Satellite data are processed using a regional algorithm that allows quantifying and mapping suspended matter in coastal waters. The results are used to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of the Adour River turbid plume and to identify the risk of exposure of coastal ecosystems to the turbid plume waters. Changes in river plume orientation and spatial extent as well as suspended matter discharged through the river are correlated to the main hydro-climatic forcings acting in the south-eastern Bay of Biscay. The Adour River turbid plume is shown to be a highly reactive system mainly controlled by the river discharge rates and modulated by the wind changes. Despite the relatively small size of the Adour River, the Adour River turbid plume can have a non-negligible impact on the water quality of the southern Bay of Biscay and the MSM and associated contaminants/nutrients transported within the Adour turbid river plume have the potential to be disseminated far away along the northern shoreline or offshore. The main areas of influence of the river plume are defined over multi-annual (3 years) and seasonal periods. The results presented in this study show the potential of 250-m MODIS images to monitor small river plumes systems and support management and assessment of the water quality in the south-eastern Bay of Biscay.
Like other similar oastal systems, the Albufeira lagoon is artificially opened every year to promote water renewal and closes naturally within a few months. The evolution of the Albufeira Lagoon Inlet from its opening in April 2010 to its closure 8 months later is qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed through a combination of monthly field surveys and the application of a process-based morphodynamic model. Field data alone would not cover the whole space–time domain of the morphology of the inlet during its life time, whereas the morphodynamic model alone cannot reliably simulate the morphological development. Using a nudging technique introduced herein, this problem is overcome and a reliable and complete data set is generated for describing the morphological development of the tidal inlet. The new technique is shown to be a good alternative to extensive model calibration, as it can drastically improve the model performance. Results reveal that the lagoon imported sediments during its life span. However, the whole system (lagoon plus littoral barrier) actually lost sediments to the sea. This behavior is partly attributed to the modulation of tidal asymmetry by the spring–neap cycle, which reduces flood dominance on spring tides. Results also allowed the assessment of the relationship between the spring tidal prism and the cross-section of tidal inlets (the PA relationship). While this relationship is well established from empirical, theoretical and numerical evidences, its validity in inlets that are small or away from equilibrium was unclear. Results for the Albufeira lagoon reveal an excellent match between the new data and the empirical PA relationship derived for larger inlets and equilibrium conditions, supporting the validity of the relationship beyond its original scope.
The development of the deep Southern Ocean winter mixed layer in the climate models participating in the fifth Coupled Models Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) is assessed. The deep winter convection regions are key to the ventilation of the ocean interior, and changes in their properties have been related to climate change in numerous studies. Their simulation in climate models is consistently too shallow, too light and shifted equatorward compared to observations. The shallow bias is mostly associated with an excess annual-mean freshwater input at the sea surface that over-stratifies the surface layer and prevents deep convection from developing in winter. In contrast, modeled future changes are mostly associated with a reduced heat loss in winter that leads to even shallower winter mixed layers. The mixed layers shallow most strongly in the Pacific basin under future scenarios, and this is associated with a reduction of the ventilated water volume in the interior. We find a strong state dependency for the future change of mixed-layer depth, with larger future shallowing being simulated by models with larger historical mixed-layer depths. Given that most models are biased shallow, we expect that most CMIP5 climate models might underestimate the future winter mixed-layer shallowing, with important implications for the sequestration of heat, and gases such as carbon dioxide, and therefore for climate.
The ability of the models contributing to the fifth Coupled Models Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to represent the Southern Ocean hydrological properties and its overturning is investigated in a water mass framework. Models have a consistent warm and light bias spread over the entire water column. The greatest bias occurs in the ventilated layers, which are volumetrically dominated by mode and intermediate layers. The ventilated layers have been observed to have a strong fingerprint of climate change and to impact climate by sequestrating a significant amount of heat and carbon dioxide. The mode water layer is poorly represented in the models and both mode and intermediate water have a significant fresh bias. Under increased radiative forcing, models simulate a warming and lightening of the entire water column, which is again greatest in the ventilated layers, highlighting the importance of these layers for propagating the climate signal into the deep ocean. While the intensity of the water mass overturning is relatively consistent between models, when compared to observation-based reconstructions, they exhibit a slightly larger rate of overturning at shallow to intermediate depths, and a slower rate of overturning deeper in the water column. Under increased radiative forcing, atmospheric fluxes increase the rate of simulated upper cell overturning, but this increase is counterbalanced by diapycnal fluxes, including mixed-layer horizontal mixing, and mostly vanishes.
Wave-current interactions play a major role in the dynamics of shallow tidal inlets. This study investigates these interactions at a natural inlet, with a strong focus on current-induced changes on wave propagation. The analysis of hydrodynamic data collected at the Albufeira lagoon, Portugal, revealed spatiotemporal variations of water levels and wave heights along the inlet, attributed to wave-current interaction processes. We compared the simulations of a coupled wave-circulation modeling system, computed with and without waves, and propagated with and without current feedback. The wave-induced setup inside the lagoon represented 7%–15% of the offshore significant wave height. The accuracy of the wave's predictions improved when current feedback was included. During ebb, the currents increased the wave height at the mouth of the inlet (up to 20%) and decreased the wave height in the inlet (up to 40%), due to current-induced refraction, steepness dissipation, and partial blocking. During flood, the currents decreased the wave height in the inlet (up to 10%) and increased the wave height at the exterior parts of the ebb shoal (up to 10%), due to current-induced refraction. These effects significantly attenuate seaward sediment fluxes during ebb and contribute to the sediment accretion in the inlet.
An assessment of the fifth Coupled Models Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) models' simulation of the near-surface westerly wind jet position and strength over the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific sectors of the Southern Ocean is presented. Compared with reanalysis climatologies there is an equatorward bias of 3.3° (inter-model standard deviation of ± 1.9°) in the ensemble mean position of the zonal mean jet. The ensemble mean strength is biased slightly too weak, with the largest biases over the Pacific sector (−1.4 ± 1.2 m/s, −19%). An analysis of atmosphere-only (AMIP) experiments indicates that 28% of the zonal mean position bias comes from coupling of the ocean/ice models to the atmosphere. The response to future emissions scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) is characterized by two phases: (i) the period of most rapid ozone recovery (2000–2049) during which there is insignificant change in summer; and (ii) the period 2050–2098 during which RCP4.5 simulations show no significant change but RCP8.5 simulations show poleward shifts (0.33, 0.18 and 0.27°/decade over the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific sectors, respectively), and increases in strength (0.07, 0.08 and 0.15 m/s/decade, respectively). The models with larger equatorward position biases generally show larger poleward shifts (i.e. state dependence). This inter-model relationship is strongest over the Pacific sector (r = −0.91) and weakest over the Atlantic sector (r = −0.39). An assessment of jet structure shows that over the Atlantic sector jet shift is not clearly linked to indices of jet structure whereas over the Pacific sector the distance between the sub-polar and sub-tropical westerly jets appears to be important.
The representation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) in the fifth Coupled Models Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) is generally improved over CMIP3. The range of modeled transports in the historical (1976–2006) scenario is reduced (90–264 Sv) compared with CMIP3 (33–337 Sv) with a mean of 155 ± 51 Sv. The large intermodel range is associated with significant differences in the ACC density structure. The ACC position is accurately represented at most longitudes, with a small (1.27°) standard deviation in mean latitude. The westerly wind jet driving the ACC is biased too strong and too far north on average. Unlike CMIP3 there is no correlation between modeled ACC latitude and the position of the westerly wind jet. Under future climate forcing scenarios (2070–2099 mean) the modeled ACC transport changes by between −26 to +17 Sv and the ACC shifts polewards (equatorwards) in models where the transport increases (decreases). There is no significant correlation between the ACC position change and that of the westerly wind jet, which shifts polewards and strengthens. The subtropical gyres strengthen and expand southwards, while the change in subpolar gyre area varies between models. An increase in subpolar gyre area corresponds with a decreases in ACC transport and an equatorward shift in the ACC position, and vice versa for a contraction of the gyre area. There is a general decrease in density in the upper 1000 m, particularly equatorwards of the ACC core.
The western sector of Ria Formosa, a lagoon system in the south of Portugal, represents approximately 90% of the total tidal prism of the lagoon and includes three inlets. Two sets of field campaigns to characterize the hydrodynamics of this sector in neap and spring tide conditions were conducted in the autumn of 2011 and spring 2012. The main findings related to the inlets hydrodynamics and water exchanges between the lagoon and the ocean along semi-diurnal tidal cycles are presented. To estimate the relative contribution of the three inlets to the water exchanges between Ria Formosa and the ocean, discharges were evaluated hourly along complete neap and spring semi-diurnal tidal cycles and the tidal prisms computed. In addition, two sea level time series measured in Faro-Olhão inlet and Faro commercial pier were harmonically analyzed. The results were compared with previous studies and used to validate the ELCIRC hydrodynamic model. This model provided additional information about the circulation and tidal prisms and distortion inside the western Ria Formosa. This study confirmed the Faro-Olhão inlet as the main inlet in terms of contribution for the total tidal prism. It is shown that the Ancão inlet lost hydraulic efficiency, contributing less than 6% to the total tidal prism in all situations and the Armona inlet gained efficiency in spring tide and lost efficiency in neap tide. Moreover, the Faro-Olhão inlet exhibits flood prisms higher than ebb prisms under neap and spring tides, suggesting a residual circulation towards the Ancão and Armona inlets.
We use a nonlinear morphodynamic model to demonstrate that the presence of a single persistent offshore bathymetric anomaly strongly affects the formation, nonlinear evolution and saturation of surf zone rip channels. In the case of an offshore bump or trough and waves with oblique incidence, a rip channel shoreward of the anomaly is enforced by the more seaward alongshore variability in depth. The degree of rip channel enforcement is controlled by the strength of the rotational nature of surf zone rip current circulations, which is, in turn, driven by differential broken wave energy dissipation induced by wave refraction across the offshore bathymetric anomaly. The alongshore location of this forced rip channel is more stable with increasing offshore anomaly amplitude, decreasing offshore wave obliquity and decreasing bathymetric anomaly distance to the shore. Simulations show that rip channel behavior downdrift and updrift of the offshore perturbation are different. In our numerical experiments, downdrift rip channels have systematically larger alongshore scales, smaller alongshore migration rates and more erosive megacusps than those updrift. Rip channels therefore self-organize into patterns of different alongshore scales and migration rates as a result of an alongshore perturbation in the wave forcing enforced by wave refraction across an offshore bathymetric anomaly. These simulations are qualitatively corroborated by video observations of sandbar behavior during a down-state sequence at a site with a persistent offshore trough.
This study aims to hindcast and analyze the storm surge associated with Xynthia, a mid-latitude depres- sion that severely hit the French central part of the Bay of Biscay on the 27–28th of February 2010. The main losses in human lives and damages were caused by the associated storm surge, which locally exceeded 1.5 m and peaked at the same time as a high spring tide, causing the flooding of low-lying coasts. A new storm surge modeling system was developed, based on the unstructured-grid circulation model SELFE and the spectral wave model WaveWatchIII. The modeling system was implemented over the North-East Atlantic Ocean and resulted in tidal and wave predictions with errors of the order of 3% and 15%, respectively. The storm surge associated with Xynthia was also well predicted along the Bay of Biscay, with only a slight underestimation of the surge peak by 3–8%. Numerical experiments were then performed to analyze the physical processes controlling the development of the storm surge and revealed firstly that the wind caused most of the water level anomaly through an Ekman setup process. The comparison between a wave-dependant and a quadratic parameterization to compute wind stress showed that the storm surge was strongly amplified by the presence of steep and young wind-waves, related to their rapid development in the restricted fetch of the Bay of Biscay. In the central part of the Bay of Biscay, both observed and predicted water level anomalies at landfall displayed ~6 h oscillations, with amplitudes of up to 0.2 m (10–20% of the surge peak). An analytical shelf resonance model and numerical experiments demonstrated that the period of the observed oscillations corresponds to the res- onant mode of the continental shelf in the central part of the Bay of Biscay. It is concluded that these oscillations originate from the interactions between the water level perturbation and the continental shelf and this phenomenon is expected to be relevant at other places along the world’s coastlines.
The wave regime has a strong influence on the sediment transport in coastal systems. Modifications in wave regime induced by climate changes can influence the sediment dynamics of those coastal systems. To access wave regime changes it is crucial to analyse the future modifications in the wave height, period and direction. This work aims to analyse the influence of a future wave regime in the sediment budget of a coastal lagoon inlet and at the nearshore adjacent coast. To achieve this goal a morphodynamic modelling system was used, forced by present and future waves, corresponding to a typical year of present and future wave climates. A methodology to determine a typical year of each climate was developed based on the determination of correlation coefficients between each climate and corresponding year data. The comparison between present and future wave climates evidences that wave period and height are in general similar for both climates, and confirms the anticlockwise rotation of waves in the future. The morphodynamic simulations revealed analogous results for both wave climates, resulting in similar patterns for the residual sediment fluxes, but slightly more intense in the present. The consequent bathymetric changes show that the deposition trend presently observed offshore the inlet tends to increase for future waves climate. The transport budgets were also analysed for both wave regimes, evidencing that the alongshore transport slightly decreases (~1%) for future waves.
Tidal inlets are extremely dynamic, as a result of an often delicate balance between the effects of tides, waves and other forcings. Since the morphology of these inlets can affect navigation, water quality and ecosystem dynamics, there is a clear need to anticipate their evolution in order to promote adequate management decisions. Over decadal time scales, the position and size of tidal inlets are expected to evolve with the conditions that affect them, for instance as a result of climate change. A process-based morphodynamic modeling system is validated and used to analyze the effects of sea level rise, an expected shift in the wave direction and the reduction of the upper lagoon surface area by sedimentation on a small tidal inlet (Óbidos lagoon, Portugal). A new approach to define yearly wave regimes is first developed, which includes a seasonal behavior, random inter-annual variability and the possibility to extrapolate trends. Once validated, this approach is used to produce yearly time series of wave spectra for the present and for the end of the 21st century, considering the local rotation trends computed using hindcast results for the past 57 years. Predictions of the mean sea level for 2100 are based on previous studies, while the bathymetry of the upper lagoon for the same year is obtained by extrapolation of past trends. Results show, and data confirm, that the Óbidos lagoon inlet has three stable configurations, largely determined by the inter-annual variations in the wave characteristics. Both sea level rise and the reduction of the lagoon surface area will promote the accretion of the inlet. In contrast, the predicted rotation of the wave regime, within foreseeable limits, will have a negligible impact on the inlet morphology.
In June 2007 an intense 5 day field experiment was carried out at the mesotidal‐ macrotidal wave‐dominated Biscarrosse Beach on a well‐developed bar and rip morphology. Previous analysis of the field data elucidated the main characteristics of a tide‐modulated and strongly evolving rip current driven by low‐ to high‐energy shore‐normal waves. Here we present a modeling strategy based on the vertically integrated and time‐averaged momentum equations accounting for roller contribution that is applied to the Biscarrosse experiment. Wave and flow predictions in the surf zone improve significantly when using a spatially constant time‐varying breaking parameter by Smith and Kraus (1990). The model correctly reproduces the main evolving behaviors of the rip current. An advection‐diffusion equation governing the mean wave‐driven current vertical vorticity is further derived from the momentum equations. Vertical vorticity is driven by a forcing term that depends on the breaking wave energy dissipation and on the wave propagation direction. Spatial gradients in depth‐induced broken‐wave energy dissipation therefore determine both the strength and the sign of the wave‐driven circulation rotational nature. When applied to the Biscarrosse experiment, the vorticity efficiently predicts the main characteristics of the evolving rip current such as its width, cross‐shore extension, and intensity. In addition, good correlations are found between the maximum rip current intensity and the deviation of the forcing term. Thus, we determine precisely the rotational component associated with the wave forcing which is less direct through the traditional radiation stress approach.
In the past decade, two-dimensional (2DH) morphodynamic modeling systems were developed to simulate the morphological changes due to the combined action of waves, tides and winds. In spite of some significant successes, they are unable to predict complex morphological behaviors, such as inlet infillings in highly dynamic environments during winter energetic wave conditions. For these reasons, the state of the art in morphodynamic modeling tends to evolve towards three-dimensional (3D) modeling systems. In this context, the present study focuses on the development of an unstructured 3D coupled wave-current model taking into account the vertical structure of radiation stresses based on recent theoretical developments. The model is applied to the common breakwater test case and succeeds efficiently to reproduce the wave-driven circulation behind the breakwater. The study investigates also the vertical structure of the flow and the wave-induced setup along a cross-shore profile. The undertow is well-predicted by the model in the surf zone and the wave-induced setups predicted by the 3D model are about 30-40% greater than those simulated by a 2DH approach. This important aspect could be relevant in storm surge and inundation studies for which the quality of the predictions could be strongly improved by using a 3D fully coupled wave-current model.
The generation of unstructured triangular grids for coastal applications requires extensive manual tunning, in order to improve the stability, accuracy and efficiency of the model simulations. As current grids reach 10^5 -10^6 nodes, this manual tunning is no longer feasible. This paper presents a new post-processor that aims at optimizing the local distribution of nodes and elements by adding and deleting nodes and by changing the connections between nodes. The algorithms target a smooth transition between elements sizes by making the number of connections of each internal node as close to 6 as possible. An application of the post-processor to various grids shows that the grid roughness is reduced by 10-30%, while decreasing marginally the number of nodes and maintaining the global nodal distribution. To illustrate the benefits of the post-processor, a grid with 130.000 nodes of the maritime zone under Portuguese jurisdiction is used to simulate tides with a good accuracy (root mean square errors below 10 cm) and without numerical oscillations. The model results provide an extensive database of tidal elevations that can feed boundary conditions to local estuarine models.
Despite numerous qualitative and quantitative studies, the morphodynamic evolution of coastal inlets is far from being completely understood due to the complexity and different time-scales of the physical processes involved. A small coastal inlet system (Aljezur stream, Portuguese Southwest coast) was chosen to implement a monitoring program in order to investigate the inlet and adjacent beach morphologic evolution and response to the incident factors on a monthly time-scale. Topo-bathymetric surveys and video-images were acquired between April 2008 and September 2010 and morphologic parameters and their possible relation with forcing mechanisms (tide, waves and fluvial discharge) was evaluated. Results show that the system reveals different time-scale response to the forcing factors and a remarkable high morphologic resilience to tidal prism and wave action, only altered when strong fluvial discharges occur. Inlet channel morphologic evolution was expressed mainly by the parallel displacement of the northern bank forced by the beach plan form oscillations. The channel displayed a flat bottom with an almost constant depth, as well the straight alignment into the beach (inlet channel configuration A). When extreme fluvial discharges occur the inlet channel widens and its pathway freely migrates crossing the foreshore (configuration B). The present study allowed a detailed morphologic characterization of Aljezur coastal system and enhanced the understanding of the morphodynamics and its relationship with the controlling factors. This knowledge provides important information to support the development of future inlet monitoring programs and to forecast system evolution.
In this paper, we investigate the mechanisms which control the generation of wave-induced mean current vorticity in the surf zone. From the vertically-integrated and time-averaged momentum equations given recently by Smith , we obtain a vorticity forcing term related to differential broken-wave energy dissipation. Then, we derive a new equation for the mean current vorticity, from the nonlinear shallow water shock-wave theory. Both approaches are consistent, under the shallow water assumption, but the later gives explicitly the generation term of vorticity, without any ad-hoc parametrization of the broken-wave energy dissipation.
Crescentic sandbars and rip channels along wave-dominated sandy beaches are relevant to understand localized beach and dune erosion during storms. In recent years, a paradigm shift from hydrodynamic template models to self-organization mechanisms occurred to explain the formation of these rhythmic features. In double sandbar systems, both the inner- and outer-bar rip channels and crescentic planshapes are now believed to be free instabilities of the nearshore system arising through self-organization mechanisms alone. However, the occasional occurrence of one or two inner-bar rip channels within one outer-bar crescent suggests a forced, morphologically coupled origin. Here we use a nonlinear morphodynamic model to show that alongshore variability in outer-bar depth, and the relative importance of wave breaking versus wave focussing by refraction across the outer bar, is crucial to the inner-bar rip channel development. The coupling patterns simulated by our model are similar to those observed in the field. Morphological coupling requires a template in the morphology (outer-bar geometry) which, through the positive feedback between flow, sediment transport and the evolving morphology (that is, self-organization) enforces the development of coupling patterns. We therefore introduce a novel mechanism that blurs the distinction between self-organization and template mechanisms. This mechanism may also be extended to explain the dynamics of other nearshore patterns, such as beach cusps. The impact of this novel mechanism on the alongshore variability of inner-bar rip channels is investigated in the companion paper.
Double sandbar systems are common morphological features along sandy, wave-dominated, micro- to meso-tidal coastlines. In the companion paper, we demonstrated how various alongshore inner-bar rip-channel patterns can develop through morphological coupling to an alongshore-variable outer bar. The simulated coupling patterns are, however, scarcely observed in the field. Instead, inner-bar rip channels more often possess remarkably smaller and more variable alongshore length scales, suggesting that coupling mechanisms do not play a substantial role in the overall double-sandbar dynamics. Here we use a numerical model to show that the relative importance of self-organization and morphological coupling changes in favour of the latter with an increase in waterdepth variability along the outer-bar crest. Furthermore, we find that the typical alongshore variability in inner-bar rip-channel scale is indicative of a mixture of self-organization and morphological coupling rather than self-organization alone. Morphological coupling may thus be more important to understanding and predicting the evolution of inner-bar rip channels than previously envisaged.
Hydrodynamics and water renewal of intermittent coastal streams are highly variable, at various time scales, due to the very active morphodynamic behavior of their inlets. Due to this strong dynamics, the pathways of water-borne materials — and the consequences of contaminated discharges — can depend strongly on the morphology and environmental conditions. Predicting the fate of contaminants in these systems requires coupled numerical models accounting for the major physical and water quality processes. We aim at improving the understanding of the impact of inlet morphology and wave action on the pollutant and sediment pathways of these small coastal systems, based on a suite of calibrated and validated coupled models. Two analyses, based on particle simulations, are presented to assess sediment dynamics and pollutant pathways for several conditions. Results show that waves have a major effect on the fate of water-borne materials in the estuary. Wave-induced currents sweep away materials coming out of the estuary, while wave-induced setup has a profound effect on tidal propagation, water levels and velocities in the estuary, promoting the upstream transport of pollutants.
This paper presents the development of a simple coupled, wave-averaged, waves-currents-beach profile evolution model. A new parameterization of the sediment transport induced by wave asymmetry and nearbottom acceleration skewness is implemented. The model reproduces the onshore and offshore sandbar migration during low and high energy conditions, respectively. Accounting for acceleration skewness substantially improves the model performance. Comparison with data acquired during a laboratory experiment and a 2-month period field observation of a double-barred beach shows encouraging results.
Portuguese coasts exhibit many complex and contrasting tidal inlets of economic and environmental relevance. Due to the strong dynamics of these inlets, associated to a severe wave climate and a meso-tidal range, the prediction of their evolution remains a challenging task, in particular at yearly time scales. This paper presents a partially parallelized morphodynamic modeling system and analyses its performance. Different approaches are proposed to reduce computation time. Finally, the system is applied to the Óbidos lagoon. Results agree with observations of the development of a meander and the formation of sandbars. A comparison between different grid resolutions shows that, at short time scales (a year), a coarse grid can reduce the computation time significantly, without compromising accuracy.
TThe Aquitanian Coast (France) is a high-energy meso-macrotidal environment exhibiting a highly variable double sandbar system. The inner and the outer bar generally exhibit a bar and rip morphology and persistent crescentic patterns, respectively. In June 2007, an intense five-day field experiment was carried out at Biscarrosse Beach. A large array of sensors was deployed on a well-developed southward-oriented bar and rip morphology. Daily topographic surveys were carried out together with video imaging to investigate beach morphodynamic evolution. During the experiment, offshore significant wave height ranged from 0.5 to 3 m, with a persistent shore-normal angle. This paper identifies two types of behavior of an observed rip current: (1) for low-energy waves, the rip current is active only between low and mid tide with maximum mean rip current velocity reaching 0.8 m/s for an offshore significant wave height (Hs) lower than 1 m; (2) for high-energy waves (Hs≈ 2.5–3 m), the rip current was active over the whole tide cycle with the presence of persistent intense offshore-directed flows between mid and high tide. For both low and high-energy waves, very low-frequency pulsations (15–30 min) of the mean currents are observed on both feeder and rip channels.
A persistent slow shoreward migration of the sandbar was observed during the experiment while no significant alongshore migration of the system was measured. Onshore migration during the high-energy waves can be explained by different sediment transport processes such as flow velocity skewness, wave asymmetry or bed ventilation. High-frequency local measurements of the bed evolution show the presence of significant (in the order of 10 cm) fluctuations (in the order of 1 h). These fluctuations, observed for both low- and high-energy waves, are thought to be ripples and megaripples, respectively and may play an important but still poorly understood role in the larger scale morphodynamics. The present dataset improves the knowledge of rip dynamics as well as the morphological response of strongly alongshore non-uniform meso-macrotidal beaches.
Biscarrosse beach, located on the French Aquitanian Coast, is a high-energy meso-macrotidal double-barred beach. The outer and the inner bars exhibit most of the time crescentic patterns and transverse bar and rip morphology, respectively. Breaking waves over these three-dimensional features induce strong rip currents that are responsible of several drowning accidents each year. To improve our knowledge on this kind of complex environment, an intensive 5-day field experiment was carried out in June 2007 at Biscarrosse Beach. The present study is focused on Very Low Frequency motions (VLF) of a rip current system over a well-developed bar-rip morphology. Using both a drifter experiment and virtual drifter modeling, the study aims at analyzing the rip current pulsations and the drifter retention in the surf zone. The main results show the oscillating behavior of the rip currents, in particular within the rip neck where the VLF pulsations are intense (reaching 1m/s on time scales of 10 to 30 minutes). In addition, most of the drifters are retained within the surf zone (about 80%), with the other 20% exiting the surf zone. These results are reproduced by our numerical model, which shows that shear instabilities of the rip current can be the cause of such retention/expulsion proportions. In addition, here we present the spatial variability of the VLF motion over the entire rip current system.
Modeling and understanding topographically-controlled rip currents remains a challenging task. One of the reasons is the lack of intensive, high-spatial resolution, flow field measurements in the rip channel vicinity. During the ECORS (DGA-SHOM) intensive field measurements, an intertidal inner-bar rip channel was instrumented with fixed eulerian current meters. In addition, for the first time in such a system, a Horizontal ADCP (HADCP) was implemented in the vicinity of the rip current, on the sandbar edge, for horizontally profiling wave induced-currents. Results show that the HADCP provides unique information on the shear in the vicinity of the rip neck, which is particularly useful for model calibration. The HADCP data was compared with local flow measurements for various tide and wave conditions, showing a very good agreement at a 5 m range. Restrictions and recommendations for HADCP implementation in the field are pointed out. The use of HADCP for horizontally profiling rip current circulations would benefit from being deployed outside of the breakers to measure the cross section of the rip head where sediment plumes and bubbles are essentially surface dominated. In this rip current system area, which would suffer from acoustic opacity only during high energy conditions, the rip current jet is strongly unstable owing to the current shear. HADCP would provide unique information on the rip current instabilities and vortex shedding in this poorly understood area of the rip current system.
The Aquitanian coast is a high-energy meso-macrotidal double-barred sandy coast. The inner bar exhibits most of the time a transverse bar and rip morphology. Strong rip currents are induced by breaking waves over these 3D features. In June 2007, an intensive 5-day field experiment was carried out on Biscarrosse Beach. A large array of sensors was deployed to capture the complex circulation patterns. The present study aims to improve our knowledge on these circulations and to validate our numerical modeling approach based on the formulation of Smith (2006). The results are very encouraging. Simulations are in good agreement with in-situ data. Two behaviors of rip currents are underlined: (1) a strong tidal modulation during low-energy period and (2) the presence of strong undertow for energetic conditions. Finally, a simple equation for the vorticity conservation is introduced. This equation allows a better understanding of wave-induced circulation patterns.
Crescentic sandbars and rip channels, believed to be free instabilities of the nearshore system arising through self-organization mechanisms, are relevant to understand localized beach and dune erosion during storms. In double sandbar systems, the alongshore spacing of inner-bar rip channels is often smaller and more alongshore variable than the spacing of outer-bar crescents, suggesting the absence of morphological coupling. However, the occasional occurrence of one or two inner-bar rip channels within one outer-bar crescent suggests a forced, morphologically coupled origin. Here we show that the relative importance of self-organization and morphological coupling changes in favour of the latter with an increase in waterdepth variability along the outer-bar crest. We also demonstrate that the typical alongshore variability in inner-bar rip channels is indicative of a mixture of self-organization and morphological coupling rather than self-organization alone. Morphological coupling may be more important to understanding and predicting the evolution of inner-bar rip channels than previously envisaged.
Along coasts, waves and wave-induced currents are the main factors of morphological evolution. A morphodynamic model is constructed to take into account tide changes, wind conditions and waves in the computation of the induced currents and morphological evolution. The spectral wave model SWAN, the shallow- water model MARS and a sedimentary module are coupled to create the morphodynamic model. First, we validate the hydrodynamics of the model on two characteristic complex bathymetries: an idealised subtidal crescentic bar and an intertidal ridge and runnel system. The crescentic bar induces wave energy focalisation zones which could give rise to transverse bars. Thus, we investigate the morphology evolution of the intertidal area. Simulations appear to show the formation of inner bars that connect the subtidal bar with the intertidal area.