Reef front wave energy

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Conference Proceeding

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In summary, waves transiting the sloping reef front experience decreasing water depths and increasingly rough bottom (high bottom friction/drag coefficients) that cause refraction, shoaling, and energy dissipation (bottom friction and wave breaking). Net wave energy reductions of 72–99% have been estimated from measured wave heights over many reefs that maintain a wave height gradient across the reef front. The resulting reef front wave field provides energy that drives or supports biological and chemical processes of the reef ecosystem, geological and morphological processes over and in the reef, and a wave-driven flow that connects the reef front to the backreef lagoon. Efficient dissipation of wave energy by coral reefs provides some measure of protection against large hurricane waves and tsunamis to backreef lagoons and shores.

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Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series

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