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Bromirski, PD, Flick RE, Cayan DR.  2003.  Storminess variability along the California coast: 1858-2000. Journal of Climate. 16:982-993.   10.1175/1520-0442(2003)016<0982:svatcc>;2   AbstractWebsite

The longest available hourly tide gauge record along the West Coast (U. S.) at San Francisco yields meteorologically forced nontide residuals (NTR), providing an estimate of the variation in "storminess'' from 1858 to 2000. Mean monthly positive NTR (associated with low sea level pressure) show no substantial change along the central California coast since 1858 or over the last 50 years. However, in contrast, the highest 2% of extreme winter NTR levels exhibit a significant increasing trend since about 1950. Extreme winter NTR also show pronounced quasi-periodic decadal-scale variability that is relatively consistent over the last 140 years. Atmospheric sea level pressure anomalies (associated with years having high winter NTR) take the form of a distinct, large-scale atmospheric circulation pattern, with intense storminess associated with a broad, southeasterly displaced, deep Aleutian low that directs storm tracks toward the California coast.

Elwany, MHS, Flick RE, Hamilton MM.  2003.  Effect of a small southern California lagoon entrance on adjacent beaches. Estuaries. 26:700-708.   10.1007/bf02711981   AbstractWebsite

This paper considers the effects of natural and artificial openings of a typical, small, southern California coastal estuarine lagoon on the adjacent barrier beach. A detailed history of beach profiles and lagoon entrance transects before and after flood-induced and artificial openings of San Dieguito Lagoon in Del Mar, California, has been analyzed. The results suggest that there is no statistically significant erosional effect on the adjacent beach when the lagoon inlet is artificially opened to tidal flow.

Flick, RE, Murray JF, Ewing LC.  2003.  Trends in United States tidal datum statistics and tide range. Journal of Waterway Port Coastal and Ocean Engineering-Asce. 129:155-164.   10.1061/(asce)0733-950x(2003)129:4(155)   AbstractWebsite

Yearly tidal datum statistics and tide ranges for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Ocean Service long-term stations in the United States tide gauge network were compiled and used to calculate their trends and statistical significance. At many stations, significant changes in the tide range were found, either in the diurnal tide range [mean higher high water (MHHW)-mean lower low water (MLLW)], or mean tide range [mean high water (MHW)-mean low water (MLW)]. For example, at San Francisco, the diurnal tide range increased by 64 mm from 1900 to 1998, while at Wilmington, N.C., the mean tide range increased at a rate of 542 mm per century from 1935 to 1999. This analysis suggests that any studies concerned with present or future water levels should take into account more tidal datum statistics than just mean sea level (MSL). For example, coastal flooding and storm damage studies should consider trends in high water levels, since it is the peak values that cause flooding and determine the design of coastal structures. For habitat restoration planning, mean low water and tide range changes should be considered.

Bromirski, PD, Flick RE, Graham N.  1999.  Ocean wave height determined from inland seismometer data: Implications for investigating wave climate changes in the NE Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 104:20753-20766.   10.1029/1999jc900156   AbstractWebsite

Knowing the wave climate along the California coast is vital from the perspectives of climatological change and planning shore protection measures. Buoy data indicate that the wave climate is very similar along much of the California coast. We show that elements of the wave climate can be accurately reconstructed using near-coastal inland broadband seismometer data. Such reconstructions are possible because swell approaching the coast generates pressure fluctuations that are locally transformed into seismic waves at the seafloor that propagate inland and are detectable by land-based seismometers. Buoy and seismometer data show that most of the microseism energy recorded inland near the coast is generated from wave events at nearby coastal locations. A site-specific, empirically derived seismic-to-wave transfer function is demonstrated to be applicable to seismic data from the same location for any year. These results suggest that ocean wave heights estimated from near-coastal broadband seismometer data are sufficiently reliable for monitoring the coastal wave height when buoy data are unavailable, provided that adequate simultaneous nearby buoy measurements are available to calibrate the seismometer data. The methodology presented here provides an important tool that allows the investigation of potential wave climate changes from reconstructions using archived seismic data collected since the 1930s.

Elwany, MHS, Flick RE, Aijaz S.  1998.  Opening and closure of a marginal southern California lagoon inlet. Estuaries. 21:246-254.   10.2307/1352472   AbstractWebsite

Over the past 50 yr, direct observations of the inlet status (open or closed) of San Dieguito Lagoon, a typical southern California lagoon located in Del Mar, California, have shown that river flooding is the major natural determinant of inlet conditions on time scales longer than a few years. River flooding is strongly dependent on rainfall in the San Dieguito River watershed and on the influences of two water storage reservoirs in the area. Rainfall fluctuates on yearly and longer time scales and undergoes cycles of wet and dry periods. Over short time periods, ranging from a few months to several years, inlet status is primarily determined by the available tidal prism and littoral sand transport. Recognition of these factors is crucial in order to correctly evaluate the probability that a small lagoon will remain open naturally. A probability approach is essential because the variables controlling inlet conditions are random in nature. The results of our study show that the inlet will remain open naturally 34% of the time. The tendency to remain open is vastly smaller during years of dry weather (12%) versus times of above-average rainfall (66%).

Elwany, MHS, Flick RE.  1996.  Relationship between kelp beds and beach width in Southern California. Journal of Waterway Port Coastal and Ocean Engineering-Asce. 122:34-37.   10.1061/(asce)0733-950x(1996)122:1(34)   AbstractWebsite

The relationship between the width of kelp beds and the width of the beaches inshore was examined in the San Diego region of Southern California. Two statistical approaches were used. The first simply determined the correlation between kelp-bed width and adjacent-beach width. A small (0.3), but statistically significant, positive correlation was found in the 20% of shoreline that had both a nonzero beach width and an offshore kelp bed; however, no correlation was found when the entire shoreline was considered. The second method examined differences in width between beaches inshore of the kelp beds and those immediately to the north and south. No statistically significant differences were found. The overall conclusion is that there is no clear correlation or consistent pattern indicating that offshore kelp beds have any direct influence on adjacent-beach width.

Elwany, MHS, Oreilly WC, Guza RT, Flick RE.  1995.  Effects of Southern California Kelp Beds on Waves. Journal of Waterway Port Coastal and Ocean Engineering-Asce. 121:143-150.   10.1061/(asce)0733-950x(1995)121:2(143)   AbstractWebsite

The effect of a Macrocystis kelp forest on shoreward propagating surface gravity waves was measured. Observations were made over a 67-day period at four locations around a 350-m-wide kelp bed off Carlsbad, California. Instruments were located directly offshore and onshore of the kelp bed at depths of 13 m and 8 m, respectively, and at control stations at the same depths, but displaced 750 m alongshore, away from the kelp bed. The bathymetry between the offshore and onshore sites was gently sloping and featureless. The measured spectra, significant wave height, mean wave direction at peak frequency, and total radiation stress differed only slightly between the offshore kelp and control stations and were similar at the onshore sites. The similarity of the wave field at the onshore kelp and control sites shows that this typical southern California kelp bed, with an average density of about 10 plants per 100 m(2), does not have a significant effect on waves. These measurements can be used to place upper bounds on drag coefficients in numerical models of the effect of kelp on waves.

George, R, Flick RE, Guza RT.  1994.  Observations of Turbulence in the Surf Zone. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 99:801-810.   10.1029/93jc02717   AbstractWebsite

Turbulence generated by waves breaking on a natural beach is examined using hotfilm anemometer data. Turbulence intensity is estimated from dissipation rates determined from wavenumber spectra of short (1/8 s) hotfilm time series. The resulting Froude-scaled turbulence intensities are relatively uniform between the seabed and the wave trough level and are similar in vertical structure but lower in magnitude than in existing laboratory studies. The magnitudes of the turbulence intensities observed in both the field and laboratory are consistent with an existing macroscopic model of bore dissipation in the surf zone. Scaling by this bore model relates turbulence intensities generated by monochromatic waves in small-scale laboratory experiments to those generated by random waves in the natural surf zone.

Zetler, BD, Flick RE.  1985.  Predicted Extreme High Tides for California - 1983-2000. Journal of Waterway Port Coastal and Ocean Engineering-Asce. 111:758-765. AbstractWebsite
Zetler, BD, Flick RE.  1985.  Predicted Extreme High Tides for Mixed-Tide Regimes. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 15:357-359.   10.1175/1520-0485(1985)015<0357:pehtfm>;2   AbstractWebsite
Flick, RE, Guza RT, Inman DL.  1981.  Elevation and Velocity-Measurements of Laboratory Shoaling Waves. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans and Atmospheres. 86:4149-4160.   10.1029/JC086iC05p04149   AbstractWebsite

Measurements of wave elevation and orbital velocity in the shoaling, breaking, and bore regime of single-frequency laboratory waves show that third-order Stokes theory, when energy flux is conserved, predicts the wave height change and harmonic growth in the regime where the Ursell number Ur = (H/ h)/(kh)2 is 0(1) or less. Shoreward of the Stokes region and up to the breakpoint, harmonic amplitudes are well described by the cnoidal theory. It is shown theoretically that a smooth transition regime exists between Stokes and cnoidal regions for waves which eventually break by plunging. The wave profile asymmetry about the vertical plane observed in near-breaking waves and bores is due to slow changes of phase of the harmonics relative to the primary wave as the wave train shoals. By contrast, only asymmetry about the horizontal plane is possible in the Stokes and cnoidal wave theories, since these classical solutions allow no relative phase shifts between harmonics. Velocity measurements made with hot-film anemometers show that ‘unorganized’ fluctuations at the bottom under breaking waves are of the order of half the rms amplitude of the wave-induced ‘organized’ flow. The correlation between surface elevation and bottom velocity under breakers and bores suggests that turbulence contributes more strongly to the unorganized flow at the bottom under plunging than under spilling waves.

Flick, RE, Guza RT.  1980.  Paddle Generated Waves in Laboratory Channels. Journal of the Waterway Port Coastal and Ocean Division-Asce. 106:79-97. AbstractWebsite
Inman, DL, Nordstrom CE, Flick RE.  1976.  Currents in Submarine Canyons - Air-Sea-Land Interaction. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics. 8:275-310.   10.1146/annurev.fl.08.010176.001423   AbstractWebsite
Sanford, TB, Flick RE.  1975.  Relationship between Transport and Motional Electric Potentials in Broad, Shallow Currents. Journal of Marine Research. 33:123-139. AbstractWebsite