Coral reefs are effective natural barriers that protect adjacent coastal communities from hazards such as erosion and storm-induced flooding. However, the degradation of coral reefs compromises their ability to protect against these hazards, making degraded reefs a target for restoration. There have been limited field and numerical modeling studies conducted to understand how an increase in coral reef roughness, as would occur due to restoration, can affect wave energy dissipation for a range of real-world wave and water level conditions. To address this knowledge gap, field measurements were collected over adjacent low-roughness and high-roughness reefs off Molokaʻi, Hawaiʻi, USA, subjected to the same oceanographic forcing. Those field data were then used to calibrate and validate OpenFOAM computational fluid dynamics models of the reef. These calibrated models were then used to explore energy dissipation for a range of wave conditions based on measurements from a suite of existing datasets and values from the literature. In general, wave dissipation scales with incident wave conditions, where greater dissipation occurred for shallow depths and shorter-period waves. This tendency for short-period waves to be more readily attenuated is supported by wave energy dissipation factors in the range of 0.1–5, which decline with increasing wave period. Near-bed turbulent kinetic energy dissipation also scales with incident wave conditions, where the greatest difference in dissipation between low and high relief cases occurs for short wave periods. Turbulence becomes less affected by bottom roughness as the wave period increases. Based on this study, wave attenuation and turbulent energy dissipation could be enhanced by 0.5–1 order of magnitude (45% per across-shore meter) if the seabed roughness at the field site were increased by 13%, an achievable goal in coral reef restoration.
|Title||Combining field observations and high-resolution numerical modeling to demonstrate the effect of coral reef roughness on turbulence and its implications for reef restoration design|
|Authors||Benjamin K Norris, Curt Storlazzi, Andrew W. M. Pomeroy, Kurt J. Rosenberger, Joshua B. Logan, Olivia Cheriton|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Coastal Engineering|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center|