Wind Wave Behavior in Fetch and Depth Limited Estuaries

Journal Article

Title: Wind Wave Behavior in Fetch and Depth Limited Estuaries
Publication Date:
January 18, 2017
Volume: 7
Technology Type:

Document Access

Website: External Link
Attachment: Access File
(1 MB)


Karimpour, A.; Chen, Q.; Twilley, R. (2017). Wind Wave Behavior in Fetch and Depth Limited Estuaries. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 7.

Wetland dominated estuaries serve as one of the most productive natural ecosystems through their ecological, economic and cultural services, such as nursery grounds for fisheries, nutrient sequestration, and ecotourism. The ongoing deterioration of wetland ecosystems in many shallow estuaries raises concerns about the contributing erosive processes and their roles in restraining coastal restoration efforts. Given the combination of wetlands and shallow bays as landscape components that determine the function of estuaries, successful restoration strategies require knowledge of wind wave behavior in fetch and depth limited water as a critical design feature. We experimentally evaluate physics of wind wave growth in fetch and depth limited estuaries. We demonstrate that wave growth rate in shallow estuaries is a function of wind fetch to water depth ratio, which helps to develop a new set of parametric wave growth equations. We find that the final stage of wave growth in shallow estuaries can be presented by a product of water depth and wave number, whereby their product approaches 1.363 as either depth or wave energy increases. Suggested wave growth equations and their asymptotic constraints establish the magnitude of wave forces acting on wetland erosion that must be included in ecosystem restoration design.

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