Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Geometric properties of deep-water breaking waves

P.  Bonmarin a1
a1 Institut de Mécanique Statistique de la Turbulence, Unité Mixte Université/C.N.R.S. n° 380033, 12, Avenue du Général Leclerc - 13003 Marseille, France

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The time-space evolution of a steep water wave reaching the breaking stage is observed by means of a visualization technique. In particular, the asymmetry of the wave profile in the near-breaking region is displayed. Measurements at breaking onset on a sample of breaking waves show a relation between the rate of asymmetry growth and the breaker type. The shape evolution of a plunging crest after breaking has started, and the related splash-up phenomenon and its part in the air-entrainment process are also observed.

(Published Online April 26 2006)
(Received July 6 1988)
(Revised January 20 1989)