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Numerical modeling of the undertow structure and sandbar migration in the surfzone

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A process-based 3D numerical model for surfzone hydrodynamics and beach evolution was established. Comparisons between the experimental data and model results proved that the model could effectively describe the hydrodynamics, sediment transport feature and sandbar migration process in the surfzone with satisfactory precision. A series of numerical simulations on the wave breaking and shoaling up to a barred beach were carried out based on the model system. Analyzed from the model results, the wave-induced current system in the surfzone consists of two major processes, which are the phase-averaged undertow caused by wave breaking and the net drift caused by both of the nonlinear wave motion and surface roller effect. When storm waves come to the barred beach, the strong offshore undertow along the beach suppresses the onshore net drift, making the initial sandbar migrate to the seaside. Under the condition of calm wave environment, both the undertow and net drift flow to the shoreline at the offshore side of the sandbar, and then push the initial sandbar to the shoreline. The consideration of surface roller has significant impact on the modeling results of the sandbar migration. As the roller transfer rate increases, the sandbar moves onshore especially under the storm wave condition.

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Correspondence to Ming-xiao Xie.

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Foundation item: The works presented in this paper was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0402603), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51779112, 51509119, and 51609029), the Project of Tianjin Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 16JCQNJC06900), the Open Project of State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering (Grant No. 2014492211), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Public Welfare Research Institutes (Grant Nos. TKS170101 and TKS170202).

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Xie, Mx., Zhang, C., Yang, Zw. et al. Numerical modeling of the undertow structure and sandbar migration in the surfzone. China Ocean Eng 31, 549–558 (2017).

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