On the wave and current interaction with a rippled seabed in the coastal ocean bottom boundary layer

Aditya R. Nayak, Cheng Li, Bobak T. Kiani, Joseph Katz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Interactions of currents and waves with a rippled seabed in the inner part of the coastal ocean bottom boundary layer are studied using particle image velocimetry, ADV, and bottom roughness measurements. Mean velocity profiles collapse with appropriate scaling in the log layer, but vary substantially in the roughness sublayer. When wave-induced motions are similar or greater than the mean current, the hydrodynamic roughness (z0) determined from velocity profiles is substantially larger than directly measured values. The roughness signature in turbulent energy spectra persists with elevation when its scale falls in the dissipation range, but decays in the log layer for larger roughness elements. Reynolds shear stress profiles peak in the lower parts of the log layer, diminishing below it, and gradually decaying at higher elevations. In contrast, wave shear stresses are negligible within the log layer, but become significant within the roughness sublayer. This phenomenon is caused by an increase in the magnitude and phase lag of the vertical component of wave-induced motion. No single boundary layer length scale collapses the Reynolds stresses, but both the Prandtl mixing length and eddy viscosity profiles agree well with the classical model of linear increase with elevation, especially near the seabed. Within the log region, profiles of shear production and dissipation rates of turbulence converge. Below it, dissipation rapidly increases, peaking near the seabed. Conversely, the shear production decays near the seabed, in agreement with the eddy viscosity model, but in contrast to both laboratory and computational rough wall studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4595-4624
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • PIV measurements
  • coastal BBL turbulence
  • combined wave current bottom boundary layer


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