This paper reviews mainly conceptual models and experimental work, in the field and in the laboratory, dedicated during the last decades to studying turbulence of breaking waves and bores moving in very shallow water and in the swash zone. The phenomena associated with vorticity and turbulence structures measured are summarised, including the measurement techniques and the laboratory generation of breaking waves or of flow fields sharing several characteristics with breaking waves. The effect of air entrapment during breaking is discussed. The limits of the present knowledge, especially in modelling a two- or three-phase system, with air and sediment entrapped at high turbulence level, and perspectives of future research are discussed.
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