Geometry of deep and intermediate water breaking waves influenced by wind speed and direction

Haifei Chen, Qingping Zou

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Wind effects on the evolution of a breaking wave group due to dispersive focusing are investigated using a two-phase flow Navier–Stokes solver. The Navier–Stokes equations are solved for both air and water, with the air–water interface captured by the Volume of Fluid method and the turbulence by the Smagorinsky subgrid-scale stress model. The two-phase model is first validated with the experimental measurements with and without following wind action. The following wind delays the breaking and shifts the breaking location downstream, and vice versa for the opposing wind. The wind-induced drift current is mainly responsible for these shifts of breaking time and location. The shift of breaking location and time is approximately linearly proportional to the wind speed (wind induced drift current) under weak winds, but the shift saturates under strong winds. The direct wind forcing, on the other hand, plays an increasingly larger role in the wave breaking process in the presence of stronger wind. It was found that the strong following wind forcing enhances the initiation of wave breaking, while the strong opposing wind forcing may change breaking type or suppress wave breaking of large intensity, such as plunging breaking. Accordingly, the wave shape at breaking onset is altered considerably under strong winds. The following wind increases the maximum wave height and wave skewness slightly. However, the opposing wind may also increase the maximum wave height initially because of the wind drift current induced upwave refocusing of the wave group. Eventually, stronger opposing wind decreases the wave height and wave skewness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number087126
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2022


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