Surf zone wave heating by energy dissipation of breaking waves

Zhangping Wei*, Robert A. Dalrymple

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study investigates surf zone wave heating due to the dissipation of breaking wave energy by using the Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics method. We evaluate the surf zone wave heating by examining the increase of internal energy of the system, which is computed based on the conservation of energy. The equivalent temperature profile is calculated based on a simple conversion relationship between energy and temperature. We first examine the surf zone wave heating based on long-crested wave breaking over a planar beach, and we consider spilling breaker and weakly plunging breaker. Numerical results show that breaking of water waves in the surf zone increases the internal energy of water body. Furthermore, the dissipation of incident wave energy is fully converted into the internal energy in a thermally isolated system, confirming the energy conservation of the present numerical approach. It is further found that the long-crested wave breaking generates undertow, which transports the generated wave heating from the surf zone to deep waters. We further carry out numerical experiments to examine surf zone wave heating due to short-crested wave breaking over a beach. The internal energy generation mainly follows the isolated wave breakers, and there is a 3D pattern of wave heating due to the complicated wave breaking process and current system. In general, the magnitude of the generated internal energy or temperature by dissipation of breaking wave energy in the surf zone is relatively small. The present study shows that the generated water temperature is in the order of 10−3 Kelvin for wave breaking over a typical coastal beach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the Coastal Engineering Conference
Issue number2018
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event36th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, ICCE 2018 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Jul 30 2018Aug 3 2018


  • Energy conservation
  • Energy dissipation
  • Smoothed particle hydrodynamics
  • Surf zone, wave heating
  • Wave breaking
  • Wave-driven currents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Oceanography

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