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Energy Transfers and Reflection of Infragravity Waves at a Dissipative Beach Under Storm Waves

Abstract : This study presents unpublished field observations of infragravity waves, collected at the dissipative beach of Saint‐Trojan (Oléron Island, France) during the storm Kurt (3 February 2017), characterized by incident short waves of significant heights reaching 9.5 m and peak periods reaching 22 s. Data analysis reveals the development of exceptionally large infragravity waves, with significant heights reaching 1.85 m close to shore. Field observations are complemented by numerical modeling with XBeach, which well reproduces the development of such infragravity waves. Model results reveal that infragravity waves were generated mainly through the bound wave mechanism, enhanced by the development of a phase lag with the shortwave energy envelope. Spectral analysis of the free surface elevation shows the generation of superharmonic and subharmonic infragravity waves, the latter dominating the free surface elevation variance close to shore. Modeling results suggest that subharmonic infragravity waves result, at least partly, from infragravity‐wave merging, promoted by the combination of free and bound infragravity waves propagating across a several kilometer‐wide surf zone. Due to the steeper slope of the upper part of the beach profile, observed and modeled reflection coefficients under moderate‐energy show a strong tidal modulation, with a weak reflection at low tide (R2<0.2) and a full reflection at high tide (R2∼1.0). Under storm waves, the observed reflection coefficients remain unusually high for a dissipative beach (R2∼0.5−1.0), which is explained by the development of subharmonic infragravity waves with frequencies around 0.005 Hz, too long to suffer a substantial dissipation.
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Contributor : Xavier Bertin <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 9:12:42 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 21, 2021 - 11:28:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 8:26:50 PM

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Xavier Bertin, Kévin Martins, Anouk de Bakker, Teddy Chataigner, Thomas Guérin, et al.. Energy Transfers and Reflection of Infragravity Waves at a Dissipative Beach Under Storm Waves. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, Wiley-Blackwell, 2020, 125 (5), pp.e2019JC015714. ⟨10.1029/2019JC015714⟩. ⟨hal-02563121⟩

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