Publications

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2019
Crosby, SC, Kumar N, O'Reilly WC, Guza RT.  2019.  Regional swell transformation by backward ray tracing and SWAN. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 36:217-229.   10.1175/jtech-d-18-0123.1   AbstractWebsite

Beach erosion and wave-induced flooding models are often initialized in O(10)-m depth, seaward of the surfzone, with wave conditions estimated from regional nonlinear spectral wave models [e.g., Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN)]. These models are computationally expensive for high-resolution, long-term regional O(100)-km hindcasts, and they limit examination of the effect of different climate scenarios on nearshore processes. Alternatively, computationally fast models with reduced linear wave physics enable long-term hindcasts at high spatial (<100 m) resolution. Linear models, that efficiently transform complete spectral details from deep water through complex offshore bathymetry, are appropriate for low-frequency swell wave energy propagation. Here, two numerically different linear methods are compared: backward ray-tracing and stationary linear SWAN simulations. The methods yield similar transformations from deep water (seaward of offshore islands in Southern California) to the nearshore, O(10)-m depth. However, SWAN is sensitive to model spatial resolution, especially in highly sheltered regions, where with typical (1-2 km) resolution SWAN estimates of nearshore energy vary by over a factor of 2 relative to ray tracing. Alongshore radiation stress estimates from SWAN and ray tracing also differ, and in some cases the climatological means have opposite signs. Increasing the SWAN resolution to 90 m, higher than usually applied to regional models, yields the nearshore transforms most similar to ray tracing. Both accurate rays and high-resolution SWAN require significant computation time; however, ray tracing is more efficient if transforms are needed at relatively few locations (compared with every grid point), or if computer memory is limited. Though presently less user friendly than SWAN, ray tracing is not affected by numerical diffusion or limited by model domain size or spatial resolution.

Fiedler, JW, Smit PB, Brodie KL, McNinch J, Guza RT.  2019.  The offshore boundary condition in surf zone modeling. Coastal Engineering. 143:12-20.   10.1016/j.coastaleng.2018.10.014   AbstractWebsite

Numerical models predicting surfzone waves and shoreline runup in field situations are often initialized with shoreward propagating (sea-swell, and infragravity) waves at an offshore boundary in 10-30 m water depth. We develop an offshore boundary condition, based on Fourier analysis of observations with co-located current and pressure sensors, that accounts for reflection and includes nonlinear phase-coupling. The performance of additional boundary conditions derived with limited or no infragravity observations are explored with the wave resolving, nonlinear model SWASH 1D. In some cases errors in the reduced boundary conditions (applied in 11 m depth) propagate shoreward, whereas in other cases errors are localized near the offshore boundary. Boundary conditions that can be implemented without infragravity observations (e.g. bound waves) do not accurately simulate infragravity waves across the surfzone, and could corrupt predictions of morphologic change. However, the bulk properties of infragravity waves in the inner surfzone and runup are predicted to be largely independent of ig offshore boundary conditions, and dominated by ig generation and dissipation.

2018
Ludka, BC, Guza RT, O'Reilly WC.  2018.  Nourishment evolution and impacts at four southern California beaches: A sand volume analysis. Coastal Engineering. 136:96-105.   10.1016/j.coastaleng.2018.02.003   AbstractWebsite

Four southern California beaches were nourished with offshore sand placed as subaerial pads several meters thick, m wide, and spanning between 500 and 1500 m alongshore. Three nourishments constructed with coarser than native sand, placed in 2012 at Imperial, Cardiff and Solana Beaches, elevated subaerial sand volumes for several years even when exposed to the energetic winter waves of the 2015-16 El Nifio, followed by a stormy 2016-17 winter. As these relatively resilient pads were overwashed, landward tilted subaerial profiles (accretionary crowns) formed at the eroding front face of the originally flat-topped pads and pooling occurred in the backbeach. At Imperial Beach, nourishment sand helped prevent waves from directly impacting riprap fronting houses, while groundwater flooding behind the pad was observed at a location where the pad was elevated similar to 1.6 m above the street. As the nourishments retreated, alongshore oriented spits grew downdrift from the eroding face. The alongshore displacement of the subaerial center of mass of the 2012 nourishments is positively correlated with the seasonally varying S-xy (the alongshore radiation stress component). After four years, the net southward drift of the Imperial Beach nourishment contributed to the winter 2016 closure of the Tijuana River mouth and the associated hyper -polluted and anoxic estuary conditions. Nourishment impacts on sand levels on rocky reefs were not unambiguously detectable in the background of natural variability. Over several years, gains or losses in the total sand volume (integrated from the back beach to 8 m depth, over the few km alongshore survey spans) are sometimes comparable to nourishment volumes, suggesting relatively large interannual sediment fluxes across the control volume boundaries. The clearest trend in total volume is at Torrey Pines; during 16 years since the 2001 nourishment, about 300,000 m(3) of sand has been lost. If the trend continues, the thinning veneer of sand will be removed more often from the subaerial winter beach, exposing rocks and cobbles.