Wave-Driven Circulation of a Coastal Reef-Lagoon System

Ryan Lowe, S.G. Monismith, M.J. Atkinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    138 Citations (Scopus)


    The response of the circulation of a coral reef system in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, to incident wave forcing was investigated using field data collected during a 10-month experiment. Results from the study revealed that wave forcing was the dominant mechanism driving the circulation over much of Kaneohe Bay. As predicted theoretically, wave setup generated near the reef crest resulting from wave breaking established a pressure gradient that drove flow over the reef and out of the two reef channels. Maximum reef setup was found to be roughly proportional to the offshore wave energy flux above a threshold root-mean-square wave height of 0.7 m (at which height setup was negligible). On the reef flat, the wave-driven currents increased approximately linearly with incident wave height; however, the magnitude of these currents was relatively weak (typically
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)873-893
    JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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