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Variability of bed drag on cohesive beds under wave action

July 22, 2016

Drag force at the bed acting on water flow is a major control on water circulation and sediment transport. Bed drag has been thoroughly studied in sandy waters, but less so in muddy coastal waters. The variation of bed drag on a muddy shelf is investigated here using field observations of currents, waves, and sediment concentration collected during moderate wind and wave events. To estimate bottom shear stress and the bed drag coefficient, an indirect empirical method of logarithmic fitting to current velocity profiles (log-law), a bottom boundary layer model for combined wave-current flow, and a direct method that uses turbulent fluctuations of velocity are used. The overestimation by the log-law is significantly reduced by taking turbulence suppression due to sediment-induced stratification into account. The best agreement between the model and the direct estimates is obtained by using a hydraulic roughness of 10 -4">−4 m in the model. Direct estimate of bed drag on the muddy bed is found to have a decreasing trend with increasing current speed, and is estimated to be around 0.0025 in conditions where wave-induced flow is relatively weak. Bed drag shows an increase (up to fourfold) with increasing wave energy. These findings can be used to test the bed drag parameterizations in hydrodynamic and sediment transport models and the skills of these models in predicting flows in muddy environments.

Publication Year 2016
Title Variability of bed drag on cohesive beds under wave action
DOI 10.3390/w8040131
Authors Ilgar Safak
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water
Index ID 70174928
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center