Understanding Sediment Mobilisation Under Plunging Waves Within a Gravel Beach
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Numerical modelling currently cannot accurately reproduce the onshore-offshore transport asymmetry observed on gravel beaches. The role of the impulsive pressure response generated by plunging waves has been hypothesised to aid mobilisation of sediment, and thus may contribute to transport asymmetry. This process is not currently included in models. Laboratory tests were conducted across a range of wave conditions to investigate the role of plunging wave-breaker impacts on the mobilisation of sediment of gravel beaches. Pressure records were obtained at positions close to the plunging impact locations, to monitor the localised pressures that lead to sediment mobilisation. The correction of the recorded pressure to the bed surface, for further analysis, was achieved through a two stage approach. Adoption of a new technique for separating the pressure records into two components, each determined by different processes is presented. Each component is then corrected to the bed surface with the application of a pragmatic prediction of the experienced attenuation. Data covering a wide range of Iribarren values was assessed, and the impact pressure was parameterised against the wave-breaker type. This procedure identified a potential peak in the impact pressure-Iribarren space in the plunging breaker region, consistent with the previous hypothesis. Comparison of cross-shore profile records provides further limited evidence that morphological prediction fails to reproduce specific characteristics associated with profiles generated under plunging breaker action. Finally, a brief discussion is provided on how the role of the additional pressure generated under plunging impacts can be incorporated into future numerical models.
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