The Lagrangian trajectories of neutrally buoyant particles underneath surface gravity wave groups are dictated by two physical phenomena: the Stokes drift results in a net displacement of particles in the direction of propagation of the group, whereas the Eulerian return flow, as described by the multi-chromatic wave theory of Longuet-Higgins & Stewart (1962 J. Fluid Mech. 13, 481–504. (doi:10.1017/S0022112062000877)), transports such particles in the opposite direction. By pursuing a separation of scales expansion, we develop simple closed-form expressions for the net Lagrangian displacement of particles. By comparing the results from the separation of scales expansion at different orders in bandwidth, we study the effect of frequency dispersion on the local Lagrangian transport, which we show can be ignored for realistic sea states.
- Received March 1, 2016.
- Accepted July 27, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.