Wave-current interaction at an inlet

C. L. Vincent, R. E. Jensen, R. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines an interferometric synthetic aperture radar (INSAR) image of the entrance to San Francisco Bay, California to investigate if quantitative measurements of waves, currents and their interaction can be made. Quantitative examination of the INSAR image are consistent with the tidal velocities and not inconsistent with incident 3.0 m, 20 secs swell propagating over the bay entrance. The examination of a few transects show clear and physically consistent patterns of wave variation (amplification, decay) that would be due to shoaling over irregular topography and a variable current field. The image offers the possibility of a wealth of information impossible to obtain with traditional in situ sensors. However, until such imagery is evaluated with simultaneous in-situ measurements its accuracy remains speculative. It should be noted however, that the image represents one moment in time. It is not clear how this image would be coupled with a similar image showing north-south currents. The large scale current field might well be derived. The two component wave fields would likely be more challenging to describe. One value of INSAR images would be in tying information from in-situ sensors together with an interpolation method and in wave-current model validation. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-15
Number of pages3
JournalShore & Beach
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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