Breaking-Limited Wave Heights

by M. Aziz Tayfun, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Civ. Engrg. Dept., Coll. of Engrg. and Petroleum, Kuwait Univ., P.O. Box 5969, Kuwait,

Serial Information: Journal of the Waterway Port Coastal and Ocean Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 2, Pg. 59-69

Document Type: Journal Paper


Empirical distributions of wave heights derived from field data differ from the theoretical distribution of wave heights as given by the Rayleigh law. A principal cause of this discrepancy is suggested to be that the conventional theory does not in any way account for wave breaking. Based on the assumption that the sea surface is characterized with a narrow-band spectrum, the probability distribution of wave heights limited by breaking, due to a Stokes-type limiting steepness in deep or finite water depths, is derived. The breaking-limited distribution provides a probability discription which compares with two well documented field observations more favorably than the Rayleigh law.

Subject Headings: Probability distribution | Breaking waves | Probability | Empirical equations | Field tests | Seas and oceans | Surface waves | Wave spectrum

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