Results of large-eddy simulation (LES) of Langmuir circulations (LC) in a wind-driven shear current in shallow water are reported. The LC are generated via the well-known Craik–Leibovich vortex force modelling the interaction between the Stokes drift, induced by surface gravity waves, and the shear current. LC in shallow water is defined as a flow in sufficiently shallow water that the interaction between the LC and the bottom boundary layer cannot be ignored, thus requiring resolution of the bottom boundary layer. After the introduction and a description of the governing equations, major differences in the statistical equilibrium dynamics of wind-driven shear flow and the same flow with LC (both with a bottom boundary layer) are highlighted. Three flows with LC will be discussed. In the first flow, the LC were generated by intermediate-depth waves (relative to the wavelength of the waves and the water depth). The amplitude and wavelength of these waves are representative of the conditions reported in the observations of A. E. Gargett & J. R. Wells in Part 1 (J. Fluid Mech. vol .000, 2007, p. 00). In the second flow, the LC were generated by shorter waves. In the third flow, the LC were generated by intermediate waves of greater amplitude than those in the first flow. The comparison between the different flows relies on visualizations and diagnostics including (i) profiles of mean velocity, (ii) profiles of resolved Reynolds stress components, (iii) autocorrelations, (iv) invariants of the resolved Reynolds stress anisotropy tensor and (v) balances of the transport equations for mean resolved turbulent kinetic energy and resolved Reynolds stresses. Additionally, dependencies of LES results on Reynolds number, subgrid-scale closure, size of the domain and grid resolution are addressed.
In the shear flow without LC, downwind (streamwise) velocity fluctuations are characterized by streaks highly elongated in the downwind direction and alternating in sign in the crosswind (spanwise) direction. Forcing this flow with the Craik–Leibovich force generating LC leads to streaks with larger characteristic crosswind length scales consistent with those recorded by observations. In the flows with LC, in the mean, positive streaks exhibit strong intensification near the bottom and near the surface leading to intensified downwind velocity ‘jets’ in these regions. In the flow without LC, such intensification is noticeably absent. A revealing diagnostic of the structure of the turbulence is the depth trajectory of the invariants of the resolved Reynolds stress anisotropy tensor, which for a realizable flow must lie within the Lumley triangle. The trajectory for the flow without LC reveals the typical structure of shear-dominated turbulence in which the downwind component of the resolved normal Reynolds stresses is greater than the crosswind and vertical components. In the near bottom and surface regions, the trajectory for the flow with LC driven by wave and wind forcing conditions representative of the field observations reveals a two-component structure in which the downwind and crosswind components are of the same order and both are much greater than the vertical component. The two-component structure of the Langmuir turbulence predicted by LES is consistent with the observations in the bottom third of the water column above the bottom boundary layer.