Probabilities for Highest Wave in Hurricane

by Leon E. Borgman, Prof. of Geo. and Stat.; Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY,

Serial Information: Journal of the Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Division, 1973, Vol. 99, Issue 2, Pg. 185-207

Document Type: Journal Paper


The function, which is called the extremal Rayleigh distribution, is found to be an accurate approximation to the probability distribution function for the maximum pro a hurricane with time-varying intensity. A formula is developed for the maximum wave distribution function in time-varying storms and computed for a large number of historical hurricanes. The extremal Rayleigh function was found to be a very accurate approximation in all cases. Two parameters are shown to be interpretable in terms of an equivalent uniform intensity storm as the reciprocal of the logarithm square wave height and the logarithm of the number of waves in the storm, respectively. Data from Hurricane Carla was analyzed to determine the parameters which best described the probability behavior of the larger waves in each 20 min record. Statistical formulas and tables are given to facilitate probability use of the extremal Rayleigh probability law in coastal engineering and hurricane research.

Subject Headings: Hurricanes and typhoons | Probability | Storms | Approximation methods | Probability distribution | Parameters (statistics) | Wave height

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