Interaction of dispersive water waves with weakly sheared currents of arbitrary profile

Sangyoung Son, Patrick J. Lynett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


A set of depth-integrated equations describing combined wave-current flows is derived and validated. To account for the effect of turbulence induced by interactions between waves and currents with arbitrary horizontal vorticity, new additional stress terms are introduced. These stresses are functions of a parameter b that relates the relative importance of wave radiation stress and bottom friction stress to the wave-current interaction. To solve the equations, a fourth-order MUSCL-TVD scheme with an approximate Riemann solver is adopted. As a first-order check of the model, the Doppler shift effect and wave dispersion over linearly sheared currents are analytically shown to be retained appropriately in the equation set. The model results are then validated through comparisons with three experimental data sets. First, based on the experiments of Kemp and Simons (1982, 1983), a reasonable functional form of b is estimated. Second, simulations examining the propagation of a weakly dispersive wave over a depth-uniform or linearly sheared current are performed. Finally, the model is applied to a more complex configuration where bichromatic waves interact with spatially varying currents. Simulated results indicate that the model is capable of predicting nearshore interactions of waves with currents of arbitrary vertical structure. One of the unique properties of the developed model is its ability to assimilate an external current field from any source, be it from a circulation model or an observation, and predict the interaction of a nonlinear and dispersive wave field with that current. •Examine nonlinear waves interacting with a current of arbitrary vertical structure•Employ depth-integrated, Boussinesq-type approach•The model accurately predicts the combined wave-current velocity structure.•The approach can assimilate external current field from any source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-84
Number of pages21
JournalCoastal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Following currents
  • Opposing currents
  • Radiation stress
  • Sheared currents
  • Turbulence mixing
  • Wave-current interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Interaction of dispersive water waves with weakly sheared currents of arbitrary profile'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this