Numerical investigation of wave-induced flow in mound-channel wetland systems
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2015 Elsevier B.V. Coastal wetlands are an important ecosystem in nearshore regions, but they are also significant in affecting the flow patterns within these areas. Wave-induced flow in wetlands has complex circulation characteristics because of the interaction between waves and plants, especially in discontinuous vegetation. Here, a numerical investigation is performed to analyze the wave-averaged flow in vegetated mound-channel systems. Different water levels, vegetated conditions, and mound configurations are studied with the COULWAVE (Cornell University Long and Intermediate Wave) Boussinesq model.Model simulations show rip currents in the mound-channel systems, whose strength varies with different mound separation distances. The relative influence of vegetation depends on both mound configuration and water level. Approximately a 15% change in significant wave height results as waves propagate over the vegetated mounds, while up to a 75% decrease in the mean shoreward flow speed through vegetation is observed. In addition, vegetation influences the spatial distribution of mean water level within the wetlands. Dimensional analysis shows that rip current strength and primary circulation size depend on mound spacing, water depth, wave height, and vegetation cover.