Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Surface-wave propagation over sinusoidally varying topography

A. G.  Davies a1 and A. D.  Heathershaw a1
a1 Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, Crossway, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 2DW

Article author query
davies ag   [Google Scholar] 
heathershaw ad   [Google Scholar] 


Surface waves travelling in water of finite depth may be scattered by a region of undulating bottom topography. The present study is concerned with the idealized two-dimensional situation in which long-crested surface waves are incident upon a patch of long-crested regular bottom ripples. The principal question examined concerns the amount of incident wave energy that is reflected by the ripple patch. Linear perturbation theory is used to show that the reflection coefficient is both oscillatory in the quotient of the length of the patch and the surface wavelength, and also strongly dependent upon the quotient of the surface and bed wavelengths. In particular, there is a Bragg resonance between the surface waves and the ripples, which is associated with the reflection of incident wave energy. A secondary question concerns the nature of the wave field in the immediate vicinity of the ripple patch. In resonant cases, it is shown how the partially standing wave on the upwave side of the ripple patch gives way, in an almost linear manner over the patch itself, to a progressive transmitted wave on the downwave side. The theoretical predictions are compared with an extensive set of laboratory observations made in a wave tank. Comparisons relating both to the reflection coefficient, and also to the wave field over the ripple patch, are shown to give consistently good agreement. Finally, the implications of the results for sediment transport on an erodible bed are examined.

(Published Online April 20 2006)
(Received July 14 1983)
(Revised February 1 1984)