Chelsea Joy Humbyrd, Ole Secher Madsen


Accurately predicting movable bed roughness is essential to the analyses of transport processes, but when the bottom is rippled, as it commonly is in the coastal environment, characterizing the roughness is less straightforward than when the bottom is flat. The common method of predicting roughness, while effective, unnecessarily predicts ripple geometry and requires a model-dependent factor, which varies widely, relating ripple geometry and bottom roughness. We have therefore developed an alternative, more direct method of predicting bed roughness in the ripple regime: the wave energy dissipation factor is predicted from flow and sediment information and then any desired theoretical friction factor model is used to back-calculate the roughness. This paper describes the common and proposed methods of predicting roughness and presents results of preliminary testing of the methods with field data. Both methods adequately predict current velocities in wave-current field flows, with the proposed method yielding the smaller RMS-error of 3.1 cm/s. Remaining questions concerning the appropriate near-bottom orbital velocity required to describe field conditions must be resolved when additional field data becomes available.


movable bed roughness; ripple geometry; wave energy dissipation; wave-current interaction

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