During a major NSF-funded experiment in 2011, the Environmental Hydrodynamics Laboratory obtained the first measurements of the three-dimensional (i.e. across-shore, alongshore, and vertical) structure of surfzone currents. A particular focus was the vertical structure of eddies like these:
Such eddies mix pollutants, erode coastlines, endanger swimmers, and transport marine organisms.
Initial results were summarized in a conference presentation and a successfully completed masters thesis (Joshua Arnold, 2013). Our collaborators Tuba Ozkan-Haller and Rebecca Aiken at Oregon State University’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences worked on developing state-of-the-art computer simulations to examine the causes and consequences of vertical structure. Comprehensive results are presented in This JGR (Oceans) paper. Observations have quantified the loss of vertical structure that results from mixing by breaking waves. Strikingly simple 1d-vertical models predict this vertical homogenization quite well.
Data are archived and available for general use (at this link, or search for doi:10.5281/zenodo.885531 if this link breaks). Please let me (Stephen Henderson) know if you are intending to use data, and also let me know if you find any problems with the data. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1061692. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.