A simple criterion for water particles to surf an underlying surface gravity wave is presented. It is found that particles travelling near the phase speed of the wave, in a geometrically confined region on the forward face of the crest, increase in speed. The criterion is derived using the equation of John (Commun. Pure Appl. Maths, vol. 6, 1953, pp. 497–503) for the motion of a zero-stress free surface under the action of gravity. As an example, a breaking water wave is theoretically and numerically examined. Implications for upper-ocean processes, for both shallow- and deep-water waves, are discussed.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.
* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 16th June 2017 - 24th February 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.