Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 65, Issue 11, pp 1567–1581 | Cite as

Nonlinear and directional effects on wave predictions over muddy bottoms: central chenier plain coast, Western Louisiana Shelf, USA

  • Ying-Po LiaoEmail author
  • Ilgar Safak
  • James M. Kaihatu
  • Alex Sheremet
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 12th International Conference on Cohesive Sediment Transport in Gainesville, Florida, USA, 21-24 October 2013


The sensitivity of wave-mud interaction on directionality and nonlinearity is investigated. A phase-resolving nonlinear wave model which accounts for directional wave propagation and mud damping is used to simulate wave propagation over a muddy shelf. Field data from an experiment conducted at the central chenier plain coast, western Louisiana, USA are used to validate the model. Recently, verification of a one-dimensional wave model with the field data showed that this model was able to replicate the evolution of wave spectra over muddy bottoms. In this study, unidirectional wave spectra were also run through the parabolic model, but with various initial angles. Linear wave model runs were also performed in order to gauge the effect of nonlinear evolution on the results. Significant wave height and total energy contained in three different spectral bands from the model are compared to the data over the shelf, and correlation metrics calculated. While the model generally performs well no matter the initial angle, at no point does a zero initial angle compare best to the data, indicating that a unidirectional model may be missing some of the dynamical features of wave propagation over a muddy shelf. Furthermore, despite similar correlation scores between linear and nonlinear model comparisons of bulk statistics, it is seen the linear model does not replicate some aspects of the spectral evolution (such as low-frequency generation and amplification) shown in the data and captured by the nonlinear model. Despite the relatively short propagation distance, the effects of both directionality and nonlinearity play a noticeable role in wave evolution over a muddy seabed.


Wave propagation over mud Parabolic nonlinear wave model Western Louisiana Shelf SWAN Wave directionality 



This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research through the National Ocean Partnership Program (Award N00014-10-0389). We would also like to thank Drs. Steve Elgar and Britt Raubenheimer of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the field data used to validate the model.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zachry Department of Civil EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Coastal EngineeringUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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