Modeling swash-zone hydrodynamics and shear stresses on planar slopes using Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equations

Alec Torres-Freyermuth*, Jack A. Puleo, Dubravka Pokrajac

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


[1] A numerical model solving the Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equations, with a volume of fluid-tracking scheme and turbulence closure, is employed for estimating hydrodynamics in the swash zone. Model results for run-up distance, water depth, and near-bed velocity are highly correlated (r2 > 0.97) with ensemble-averaged dam-break-driven swash data. Moreover, modeled bed shear stresses are within 20% of estimates derived from measured velocity profiles. Dam-break-driven swash simulations are conducted to determine the effect of foreshore characteristics (bed roughness and foreshore slope) on bore-induced swash-zone hydrodynamics and bed shear stresses. Numerical results revealed that the boundary layer vanishes during flow reversal, grows during the backwash, and becomes depth limited at the end of the swash cycle. In general, the uprush experiences larger shear stresses but for a shorter duration than the backwash. Some variability in this pattern is observed depending on the bed roughness, foreshore slope, and cross-slope location in the swash zone, implying that large spatial gradients in shear stresses can occur on the foreshore. The mean tangential force per unit area supplied to the bed is offshore directed for the simulated cases, with the exception of the mild-slope (1:25) cases, owing to the skewed nature of swash flows. The temporal evolution of the momentum balance inside the swash zone shows an important contribution to the total force from turbulence and advection at the early/final stage of the swash cycle, whereas the local acceleration does not appear to be a significant contribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1033
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number2
Early online date11 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • swash zone


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling swash-zone hydrodynamics and shear stresses on planar slopes using Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes equations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this