Falk Feddersen: Class Nearshore Physical Oceanography (SIO 261, Spring 2020)

Nearshore Physical Oceanography

SIOC 261
Professor Falk Feddersen
ffeddersen (at) ucsd.edu
Phone: 858.534.4345
Office: 003 DSDW

Class: Zoom Monday/Wed 2:00-3:20pm
Office Hours: Zoom, TBD

Course Requirements Completing of all the problem sets and projects. The final grade will be based 1/3 on problem sets and 2/3 on projects Students should enroll in four (4) units as either letter (1st year students) or S/U.

Description This course, Nearshore Physical Oceanography, will cover the basic physics of the nearshore and coastal regions spanning the surfzone to the outer shelf. Topics covered will include how surface gravity waves, winds, and tides force circulation and its intrinsic response across this region. Additional topics are also possible.


  • What is the nearshore? The range of processes, time-scales, length-scales that occur in the nearshore
Surface Gravity Waves : Sea/Swell
  • Review of linear surface gravity waves: plane waves
  • Random directionally spread waves
  • Flux-conservation equations, wave energy, energy flux, and mass flux (Stokes drift)
  • Wave momentum flux: Radiation Stresses (Chapter 4, Longuet-Higgins & Stewart, 1964, read first 8 pages)
  • Cross-shore wave transformation - shoaling and breaking (Chapter 9)
Depth-Averaged Processes, Setup, Alongshore Currents
  • Wave-induced setdown and Setup
  • Depth-integrated models for nearshore circulation: Inviscid (Chapter 10, Smith 2006)
  • Bottom stress and Lateral Mixing (Chapter 11)
  • Local Alongshore Uniform Dynamics: Surfzone (setup + alongshore currents, Ch 5, 13, & 14)
  • Local Alongshore Uniform Dynamics: Inner-shelf (Chapter 15, Lentz et al. 1999 JGR)
Infragravity Waves
  • Edge Waves and Shelf waves (Chapter 12)
Nonlinear wave interaction and wave modeling
  • Boussinesq wave models
  • Nonlinear wave interaction, bispectra, and infragravity wave generation
Depth-Resolving Processes
  • Wave and Tidal boundary layers + steady streaming
  • Current Boundary Layers
  • Sediment, Fall Velocity, Sediment mobilization, Bedload and suspended load transport.
  • Rip currents
  • Inner-shelf internal waves

Lecture notes will be posted here.
There are some books that have relvant material in them. These include
Papers to be discussed in class
Sea-swell Surface Gravity Waves
Depth-averaged processes: Setup, setdown, circulation, edge waves Infragravity Waves Nonlinear wave-wave interactions
  • Peregrine, D.H. Long waves on a beach J. Fluid Mech. 27 815-827. 1967.
  • Freilich, M. and R. T. Guza
  • Elgar, Herbers
Bottom boundary layer proceses and sediment transport

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at falk@coast.ucsd.edu.