Edge Waves and the Configuration of the Shoreline
Storm waves incident on a beach have their maximum energy at the breakpoint and their minimum at the shoreline, particularly on shallow beaches. The mathematical solution for edge waves was first discovered in 1846 by the mathematician Sir George Stokes. Edge waves are just such a class of motions. Because of their dominance of inner surf zone processes and their remarkable ability to simply explain a number of nearshore morphologies, edge waves have attracted an increasing amount of attention. An important task has been to find field evidence for the existence and relevance of edge waves in nature. The connection of edge waves to shoreline erosion follows from several lines of reasoning. First, unlike incident waves which are limited in the surf zone by breaking, edge waves can grow during storms and may come to dominate the inner surf zone. Second, the large-scale morphology which remains after a storm is commonly in a form consistent with edge wave generation.