|Traykovski, P., A.E. Hay, J.D. Irish, and J.F. Lynch, Geometry, migration, and evolution of wave orbital ripples at LEO-15, Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 1999|
Observations of the temporal evolution of the geometric properties and migration of wave-formed ripples are analyzed in terms of measured suspended sand profiles and water velocity measurements. Six weeks of bedform observations were taken at the sandy (medium to coarse sized sand) LEO-15 site located on Beach Haven ridge during the late summer of 1995 with an autonomous rotary sidescan sonar. During this period, six tropical storms, several of hurricane strength, passed to the east of the study site. Ripples with wavelengths of up to 100 cm and with 15 cm amplitudes were observed. The predominant ripples were found to be wave orbital scale ripples with ripple wavelengths equal to 3/4 of the wave orbital diameter. Although orbital diameters become larger than 130 cm during the maximum wave event, it is unclear if a transition to non-orbital scaling is occurring. Ripple migration is found to be directed primarily onshore at rates of up to 80 cm/day. Suspended transport due to wave motions, calculated by multiplying acoustic backscatter measurements of suspended sand concentrations by flow velocity measurements, are unable to account for a sufficient amount of sand transport to force ripple migration and are in the opposite direction to ripple migration. Thus it is hypothesized that the onshore ripple migration is due to unobserved bedload transport or near-bottom suspended transport. Bedload model calculations forced with measured wave velocities are able to predict the magnitude and direction of transport consistent with observed ripple migration rates. Sequences of ripple pattern temporal evolution are examined showing mechanisms for ripple directional change in response to changing wave direction, as well as ripple wavelength adjustment and erosion due to changing wave orbital diameter and relative wave-to-current velocities.