Swash saturation: an assessment of available models



Publication Details

Hughes, M. G., Baldock, T. E. & Aagaard, T. (2018). Swash saturation: an assessment of available models. Ocean Dynamics: theoretical, computational oceanography and monitoring, 68 (7), 911-922.


An extensive previously published (Hughes et al. Mar Geol 355, 88-97, 2014) field data set representing the full range of micro-tidal beach states (reflective, intermediate and dissipative) is used to investigate swash saturation. Two models that predict the behavior of saturated swash are tested: one driven by standing waves and the other driven by bores. Despite being based on entirely different premises, they predict similar trends in the limiting (saturated) swash height with respect to dependency on frequency and beach gradient. For a given frequency and beach gradient, however, the bore-driven model predicts a larger saturated swash height by a factor 2.5. Both models broadly predict the general behavior of swash saturation evident in the data, but neither model is accurate in detail. While swash saturation in the short-wave frequency band is common on some beach types, it does not always occur across all beach types. Further work is required on wave reflection/breaking and the role of wave-wave and wave-swash interactions to determine limiting swash heights on natural beaches.

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