PerspectiveGeophysics

Sandbars in Motion

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Science  21 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5614, pp. 1855-1856
DOI: 10.1126/science.1082512

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Summary

Nearshore surf zones are turbulent places. Yet despite the apparently chaotic nature of the sea surface in these areas, sandbars often show complex patterns with an intricate structure. In their Perspective, Stive and Reniers discuss recent efforts to understand how these patterns form. They highlight the report by Hoefel and Elgar, who consider a new transport mechanism based on flow acceleration within the waves. This mechanism should help to improve the predictability of sandbar structures.