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Journal Articles Journal of Fluid Mechanics Year : 2023

Breaking wave field statistics with a multi-layer model

Abstract

The statistics of breaking wave fields are characterised within a novel multi-layer framework, which generalises the single-layer Saint-Venant system into a multi-layer and nonhydrostatic formulation of the Navier-Stokes equations. We simulate an ensemble of phase-resolved surface wave fields in physical space, where strong non-linearities including directional wave breaking and the subsequent highly rotational flow motion are modelled, without surface overturning. We extract the kinematics of wave breaking by identifying breaking fronts and their speed, for freely evolving wave fields initialised with typical wind wave spectra. The Λ(c) distribution, defined as the length of breaking fronts (per unit area) moving with speed c to c + dc following Phillips 1985, is reported for a broad range of conditions. We recover the Λ(c) ∝ c −6 scaling without wind forcing for sufficiently steep wave fields. A scaling of Λ(c) based solely on the root-mean-square slope and peak wave phase speed is shown to describe the modelled breaking distributions well. The modelled breaking distributions are in good agreement with field measurements and the proposed scaling can be applied successfully to the observational data sets. The present work paves the way for simulations of the turbulent upper ocean directly coupled with realistic breaking waves dynamics, including Langmuir turbulence, and other submesoscale processes.
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hal-04157783 , version 1 (10-07-2023)

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Jiarong Wu, Stéphane Popinet, Luc Deike. Breaking wave field statistics with a multi-layer model. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2023, 968, pp.A12. ⟨10.1017/jfm.2023.522⟩. ⟨hal-04157783⟩
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