First direct evidence that breaking waves cause horizontal eddies



As ocean waves pass from deeper water into the shallow coastal regions, they begin to break, churning up the surf zone waters. At the edges of the crests of the breaking waves, horizontally rotating eddies (vertical vortices) are generated, converting some of the waves' kinetic energy into turbulence. These horizontally rotating eddies are an important mechanism for dispersing nutrients, larvae, bacteria, sediments, and other suspended objects along the coastline.