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Thread: Ocean Waves

  1. #1 Ocean Waves 
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    Jan 2011

    Unsure whether or not this post belonged in the Earth Sciences section or the Physics... apologies if I'm in the wrong place.

    Reading a book about coastal systems, and am currently on the subject of waves. I have two clarification questions that maybe you all can help me with.

    1. "Where reflected waves approximately equal the characteristics of, and travel in the opposite direction to, incoming waves then a standing wave known as a clapotis may be produced, in which the water goes up and down, but does not progress."

    Given that the text doesn't state that clapotis waves only occur in shoaling waves, how does a clapotis wave differ from a traditional oscillatory wave, during which energy is transferred but matter (water particles) simply orbit and maintain position?

    2. After presenting the equation for wave celerity, the text explains, "Because we are dealing with coasts, all waves that are relevant to our study eventually encounter water depths shallower than wave-base (a depth equal to a quarter of the wave-length). When this happens the sea-bed begins to interfere with the oscillatory motion of the deep-water wave, and the wave starts shoaling, so becoming a shallow-water wave."

    It goes on to say, "Shoaling promotes deceleration of wave-celerity, so that those parts of a wave in water shallower than wave-base will slow, whilst sections of the wave still in water deeper than wave-base will maintain their celerity. In this way the wave will bend or refract."

    But, based on the first explanation, aren't all parts of the wave shallower than wave-base during shoaling?

    Thanks so much,


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