R.T. Guza, E.B. Thornton, R.A. Holman


Extensive field observations of swash on natural beaches are used to relate the magnitudes of swash oscillations to incident wave conditions and the beach slope. Swash fluctuations at wind wave frequencies (defined here as f > .05 Hz) appear to be "saturated." As in laboratory experiments with monochromatic waves, wave breaking prevents the magnitudes of swash oscillations at incident wave frequencies from increasing past a certain level which depends on the beach slope. All data sets considered support this conclusion. In contrast, the magnitude of swash oscillations at surf beat frequencies (defined as f < .05 Hz) varies between data sets. Possible reasons for the discrepancy are discussed. Despite their differences, all data sets show that motions at surf beat frequencies dominate the swash spectrum on dissipative beaches. As in previous studies, the frequencies of spectral hills and valleys in the spectra of surf zone sensors suggests that a significant fraction of the surf beat energy is contained in motions which are standing in the cross-shore direction. Preliminary analysis indicates that shoreward propagating surf beat is coupled to incident wave groups.


swash; beach swash; steep beach; shallow beach

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.9753/icce.v19.%25p