May 24 2011

Physical Changes to Wave, Tides, and Currents

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The use of renewable energy technologies in the ocean could decrease the overall kinetic energy of ocean water as well has have an effect on sediment dispersal and beach topography (USA California).  Installing wave energy converters can reduce wave height by as much as 15% in the area around the device (Ozkan-Haller).  Also, wave energy technologies can affect total wave power, tide heights, tidal times and patterns, and total current energy.  This could have profound effect on sediment dispersal as well as beach formation patterns, though it varies greatly with the size of the array and processes already in place that maintain the shore.  Many beaches rely on tides and sand bars to maintain the appropriate amount of sand, and removing energy would change the shape of beaches if the structures are in place near the shore (Polagye).

Beach Sediment Offshore of Kenya

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