Surf Zone Turbulence and Suspended Sediment Dynamics— A Review
Journal of Marine Science and Engineering
The existence of sandy beaches relies on the onshore transport of sand by waves during post-storm conditions. Most operational sediment transport models employ wave-averaged terms, and/or the instantaneous cross-shore velocity signal, but the models often fail in predictions of the onshore-directed transport rates. An important reason is that they rarely consider the phase relationships between wave orbital velocity and the suspended sediment concentration. This relationship depends on the intra-wave structure of the bed shear stress and hence on the timing and magnitude of turbulence production in the water column. This paper provides an up-to-date review of recent experimental advances on intra-wave turbulence characteristics, sediment mobilization, and suspended sediment transport in laboratory and natural surf zones. Experimental results generally show that peaks in the suspended sediment concentration are shifted forward on the wave phase with increasing turbulence levels and instantaneous near-bed sediment concentration scales with instantaneous turbulent kinetic energy. The magnitude and intra-wave phase of turbulence production and sediment concentration are shown to depend on wave (breaker) type, seabed configuration, and relative wave height, which opens up the possibility of more robust predictions of transport rates for different wave and beach conditions.
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