Modified Stokes drift due to resonant interactions between surface waves and corrugated sea floor with and without a mean current

Akanksha Gupta, Anirban Guha (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we show that Stokes drift may be significantly affected when an incident intermediate or shallow water surface wave travels over a corrugated sea floor. The underlying mechanism is Bragg resonance: reflected waves generated via nonlinear resonant interactions between an incident wave and a rippled bottom. We theoretically explain the fundamental effect of two counterpropagating Stokes waves on Stokes drift and then perform numerical simulations of Bragg resonance using the high-order spectral method. A monochromatic incident wave on interaction with a patch of bottom ripple yields a complex interference between the incident and reflected waves. When the velocity induced by the reflected waves exceeds that of the incident, particle trajectories reverse, leading to a backward drift. Lagrangian and Lagrangian-mean trajectories reveal that surface particles near the up-wave side of the patch are either trapped or reflected, implying that the rippled patch acts as a non-surface-invasive particle trap or reflector. On increasing the length and amplitude of the rippled patch, reflection, and thus the effectiveness of the patch, increases. The inclusion of realistic constant current shows noticeable differences between Lagrangian-mean trajectories with and without the rippled patch. Theoretical analysis reveals additional terms in the Stokes drift arising from the particular solution due to mean-current–bottom-ripple interactions, irrespective of whether Bragg resonance condition is met. Our analyses may be useful for designing artificial, corrugated sea-floor patches for mitigating microplastics and other forms of ocean pollution. We also expect that sea-floor corrugations, especially in the near-shore region, may significantly affect oceanic tracer transport.
Original languageEnglish
Article number024801
Number of pages25
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2021


  • Oceanography
  • Sediment transport
  • Surface gravity waves
  • Fluid Dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modelling and Simulation


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