Predictions of nearshore and surf zone processes are important for determining coastal circulation, impacts of storms, navigation, and recreational safety. Numerical modeling of these systems facilitates advancements in our understanding of coastal changes and can provide predictive capabilities for resource managers. There exists many nearshore coastal circulation models, however they are mostly limited or typically only applied as depth integrated models. SHORECIRC is an established surf zone circulation model that is quasi-3D to allow the effect of the variability in the vertical structure of the currents while maintaining the computational advantage of a 2DH model. Here we compare SHORECIRC to ROMS, a fully 3D ocean circulation model which now includes a three dimensional formulation for the wave-driven flows. We compare the models with three different test applications for: (i) spectral waves approaching a plane beach with an oblique angle of incidence; (ii) monochromatic waves driving longshore currents in a laboratory basin; and (iii) monochromatic waves on a barred beach with rip channels in a laboratory basin. Results identify that the models are very similar for the depth integrated flows and qualitatively consistent for the vertically varying components. The differences are primarily the result of the vertically varying radiation stress utilized by ROMS and the utilization of long wave theory for the radiation stress formulation in vertical varying momentum balance by SHORECIRC. The quasi-3D model is faster, however the applicability of the fully 3D model allows it to extend over a broader range of processes, temporal, and spatial scales. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.
Additional publication details
Comparing a quasi-3D to a full 3D nearshore circulation model: SHORECIRC and ROMS