Bottom stress is calculated for several long-term time-series observations, made on the U.S. east coast continental shelf during winter, using the wave-current interaction and moveable bed models of Grant and Madsen (1979, Journal of Geophysical Research, 84, 1797-1808; 1982, Journal of Geophysical Research, 87, 469-482). The wave and current measurements were obtained by means of a bottom tripod system which measured current using a Savonius rotor and vane and waves by means of a pressure sensor. The variables were burst sampled about 10% of the time. Wave energy was reasonably resolved, although aliased by wave groupiness, and wave period was accurate to 1-2 s during large storms. Errors in current speed and direction depend on the speed of the mean current relative to the wave current. In general, errors in bottom stress caused by uncertainties in measured current speed and wave characteristics were 10-20%. During storms, the bottom stress calculated using the Grant-Madsen models exceeded stress computed from conventional drag laws by a factor of about 1.5 on average and 3 or more during storm peaks. Thus, even in water as deep as 80 m, oscillatory near-bottom currents associated with surface gravity waves of period 12 s or longer will contribute substantially to bottom stress. Given that the Grant-Madsen model is correct, parameterizations of bottom stress that do not incorporate wave effects will substantially underestimate stress and sediment transport in this region of the continental shelf. ?? 1990.
Additional publication details
Sediment movement along the U.S. east coast continental shelf-I. Estimates of bottom stress using the Grant-Madsen model and near-bottom wave and current measurements