Physics

Why do ocean waves break as they approach the shore?

Is it because of the principle of superposition. Would it be described as constructive or destructive interference? I believe it's constructive interference as the two waves combine the amplitude is large which causes the wave to topple over. Is this a fair assertion?

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  1. It is not inteference. It has to do with momentum and wave speed. As the depth gets shallower, the slower wave speed at the bottom (friction) allows the top of the wave to get ahead, and momentum carries it over and it falls ahead of the wave.

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    bobpursley

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