The Role of Infragravity Waves in Near-Bed Cross-Shore Sediment Flux in the Breaker Zone
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 6 June 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
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Results from a series of field experiments, conducted to investigate the influence of infragravity waves (from wave groups), ripple type and location relative to the breaker line on cross-shore suspended sediment flux close to the sea bed in nearshore environments, are presented.
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Results from a series of field experiments, conducted to investigate the influence of infragravity waves (from wave groups), ripple type and location relative to the breaker line on cross-shore suspended sediment flux close to the sea bed in nearshore environments, are presented. The field data were collected from Cable Beach (Broome) and Mullaloo Beach in Western Australia and Chilaw in Sri Lanka. These beaches experience different incident wave, tidal and morphological conditions, with Cable Beach having a 10-m spring tidal range, whilst the other two beaches have tidal ranges <1.0 m. Measurements included simultaneous records of surface elevation, two-dimensional horizontal current velocities and suspended sediment concentrations, together with half-hourly observations of the seabed topography. Although most of the data sets were obtained just outside of the surf zone, a few results from inside of the surf zone were also included. A significant correlation between wave groups and suspended sediment concentration was found at all of the measurement sites, either with or without bed ripples. The direction and magnitude of cross-shore suspended sediment flux varied with location with respect to the breaker line; however, other parameters, such as bed ripples and velocity skewness, could have influenced this result. In Broome, where the measurement location with respect to the breaker line varied with the tidal cycle, the cross-shore sediment flux due to swell waves was shoreward inside and just outside of the surf zone and seaward farther offshore of the breaker line. Further, sediment flux due to swell waves was onshore when the seabed was flat and offshore over post-vortex ripples. Sediment flux due to swell waves was onshore when the normalised velocity skewness towards the shore was high (positive); the flux was offshore when the skewness was lower, but positive, suggesting the influence of other parameters, such as ripples and grain size. The net cross-shore sediment flux was onshore when the Dean number was less than 1.67 and offshore when the Dean number was greater than 1.67. Nevertheless, the Dean number did not account for the influence of ripples or velocity skewness. The cross-shore sediment flux at the infragravity frequency was mainly offshore outside of the surf zone, whereas it varied between onshore and offshore inside of the surf zone.