Wave-current interaction in the bottom boundary layer during storm and non-storm conditions: observations and model predictions

Continental Shelf Research
By:  and 


  • The Publications Warehouse does not have links to digital versions of this publication at this time
  • Download citation as: RIS | Dublin Core


Bottom boundary layer measurements of current velocity profiles and bed response under combined wave and current conditions were obtained at a water depth of 145 m on the shelf off central California during December 1988. High quality logarithmic current profiles, excellent time-series bottom photographs, and a large variation in the relative strengths of the wave-induced oscillatory currents and the quasi-steady low frequency currents provided a dataset that is ideal for examining the effects of wave-current interaction near a rough boundary. During one period of 3 days that included a brief storm event, the wave-induced bottom currents (Ub 1 10) ranged from 2.3 to 22 cm s-1 and the steady currents (Ur) ranged from 1.8 to 28.1 cm s-1 at 0.18 m above the bottom; the ratio Ub U18 varied from below 0.2 to more than 7. Velocity profiles were highly logarithmic (R2 > 0.95) 60% of the time and 27 profiles collected at 2-h intervals had R2 {slanted equal to or greater-than} 0.994 which allowed reliable estimates of the current shear velocity (U*c) and roughness length (zoc). Mean U*c values had magnitudes of 0.3-2.4 cm s-1 and zoc, which ranged from 0.04 to 3.5 cm, was strongly correlated to the Ub U18 ratio. Drag coefficients (CD = ??c/??U1002) ranged from about 2.5 ?? 10-3-12 ?? 10-3 in direct response to the wave-current variation; the use of a constant CD of 3 ?? 10-3 for steady flow over a rough bed would have underpredicted the shear stress by up to four times during the storm event. The large zoc and U*c values cannot be explained by changes in the carefully-observed, small (<1 cm) physical bed roughness elements that covered the mud-rich study site. A side-scan sonar site survey also eliminated the possibility of flow disturbance by larger upstream topography. The observations clearly demonstrate the importance of wave-current interaction near a rough boundary. Comparison of the observations with results of the combined flow models of Grant and Madsen and Glenn show the models provide good predictions of U*c and zoc when the waves are characterized by either H 1 3 or H 1 10. ?? 1992.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Wave-current interaction in the bottom boundary layer during storm and non-storm conditions: observations and model predictions
Series title Continental Shelf Research
Volume 12
Issue 12
Year Published 1992
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Continental Shelf Research
First page 1331
Last page 1352
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page