Engineers who were studying beach erosion got more than they bargained for recently when they discovered unexpected wave behavior in the water along an east coast shoreline.
The finding could ultimately cause researchers to re-examine ideas about beach erosion and the repair of beaches that are damaged by tropical storms. “It could just be that the physics of the system is a little different than we thought,” said Thomas Lippmann, a research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University.
When the Ohio State researchers utilized data collected by collaborators at Duck, NC, to calibrate a new remote sensing method for studying ocean currents, they expected to find some complex wave flow patterns in the water. Researchers have long known that the surf contains many different currents that interact to affect how sand washes away from a beach. That’s why mitigating beach erosion is so difficult, Lippmann said.
Thomas Lippmann | EurekAlert!
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