Modelling alongshore flow in a semi-enclosed lagoon strongly forced by tides and waves
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Geophysical Institute 
Alongshore flows strongly driven by tides and waves is studied in the context of a one-dimensional numerical model. Observations from field surveys performed in a semi-enclosed lagoon (1.7 km×0.2 km) outside Xai-Xai, Mozambique, are used to validate the model results. The model is able to capture most of the observed temporal variability of the current, but sea surface height tends to be overestimated at high tide, especially during high wave events. Inside the lagoon we observed a mainly uni-directional alongshore current, with speeds up to 1 ms−1. The current varies primarily with the tide, being close to zero near low tide, generally increasing during flood and decreasing during ebb. The observations revealed a local minimum in the alongshore flow at high tide, which the model was successful in reproducing. Residence times in the lagoon were calculated to be less than one hour with wave forcing dominating the flushing. At this beach a high number of drowning casualties have occurred, but no connection was found between them and strong current events in a simulation covering the period 2011–2012.