Turbulence and undertow currents play an important role in surf-zone mixing and transport processes; therefore, their study is fundamental for the understanding of nearshore dynamics and the related planning and management of coastal engineering activities. Pioneering studies qualitatively described the features of breakers in the outer region of the surf zone. More detailed information on the velocity field under spilling and plunging breakers can be found in experimental works, where single-point measurement techniques, such as Hot Wire Anemometry and Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA), were used to provide maps of the flow field in a time-averaged or ensemble-averaged sense. Moreover, the advent of non-intrusive measuring techniques, such as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) provided accurate and detailed instantaneous spatial maps of the flow field. However, by correlating spatial gradients of the measured velocity components, the instantaneous vorticity maps could be deduced. Moreover, the difficulties of measuring velocity due to the existence of air bubbles entrained by the plunging jet have hindered many experimental studies on wave breaking encouraging the development of numerical model as useful tool to assisting in the interpretation and even the discovery of new phenomena. Therefore, the development of an WCSPH method using the RANS equations coupled with a two-equation k–ε model for turbulent stresses has been employed to study of the turbulence and vorticity distributions in in the breaking region observing that these two aspects greatly influence many coastal processes, such as undertow currents, sediment transport and action on maritime structures.
Part of the book: Geophysics and Ocean Waves Studies