A theoretical and numerical study is carried out to investigate the transformation of the wave boundary layer from non-depth-limited (wave-like boundary layer) to depth-limited one (cur-rent-like boundary layer) over a smooth bottom. A long period of wave motion is not sufficient to induce depth-limited properties, although it has simply been assumed in various situations under long waves, such as tsunami and tidal currents. Four criteria are obtained theoretically for recogniz-ing the inception of the depth-limited condition under waves. To validate the theoretical criteria, numerical simulation results using a turbulence model as well as laboratory experiment data are employed. In addition, typical field situations induced by tidal motion and tsunami are discussed to show the usefulness of the proposed criteria.
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