Environmental Fluid Mechanics

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 965–981 | Cite as

Numerical study of wave–current–vegetation interaction in coastal waters

  • Mingliang Zhang
  • Huiting Qiao
  • Yuanyuan Xu
  • Yang Qiao
  • Kejun Yang
Original Article


Research on interactions among wave, current, and vegetation has received increasing attention. An explicit depth-averaged hydrodynamic model coupled with a wave spectral model (CMS-wave) was proposed in this study in order to simulate the wave and wave-induced current in coastal waters. The hydrodynamic model was based on the finite volume method while the intercell flux was computed by employing the Harten–Lax–van Leer approximate Riemann solver to investigate the dry-to-wet interface, and the drag force of vegetation was modeled as the sink terms in the momentum equations. The CMS-wave model was used to investigate the non-breaking and the breaking random waves propagation in vegetation fields. Afterwards, an empirical wave energy dissipation term with plant effect was derived to represent the resistance induced by aquatic vegetation in the wave-action balance equation. The established model was calibrated and validated with both the experimental and field data. The results showed that the wave height decreased significantly along the wave propagation direction in the presence of vegetations. The sensitivity analysis for the plant density, the wave height, and the water depth were performed by comparing the numerical results for the wave height attenuation. In addition, wave and wave-induced current through a finite patch of vegetation in the surf zone were investigated as well. The strong radiation stress gradient could be produced due to the variation of the energy dissipation by vegetation effect in the nearshore zone, which impacted the direction and amplitude of the longshore current. The calculated results showed that the coupling model had good performance in predicting wave propagation and the current over vegetated water regions.


Wetland vegetation Wave-action balance equation Hydrodynamic model Wave attenuation Wave–current–vegetation interaction 



This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (51579030), the Program for Liaoning Excellent Talents in University (LJQ2013077), the Liaoning Natural Science Foundation (2014020148), and the Open Fund of the State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering (SKHL1517).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mingliang Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huiting Qiao
    • 1
  • Yuanyuan Xu
    • 1
  • Yang Qiao
    • 1
  • Kejun Yang
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Ocean Science and EnvironmentDalian Ocean UniversityDalianChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River EngineeringSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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