Diffusive Transport by Breaking Waves Academic Article uri icon


  • A simple conceptual model of the relationship between advective transport by breaking waves and diffusive transport is derived. The model postulates that the displacement of fluid parcels by a breaking wave is analogous to molecular diffusion. The effective random phase of wavebreaking events with respect to an individual particle, however, results in a macroscopic "random walk' of the parcel with a step size related to the width of the breaking wave and a timescale related to the frequency of wave breaking events. As in the case of molecular diffusion, the motion of individual molecules or fluid parcels is unpredictable (chaotic, in fact), but averaging over a large ensemble of parcels results in an ensemble variance that increases linearly with time, formally equivalent to molecular diffusion of a gas. -from Author

author list (cited authors)

  • Bowman, K. P.

citation count

  • 9

publication date

  • July 1995