Prediction of Wind Wave Heights

by Henry T. Falvey, Sr. Res. Engr.; Lab. d'Hydraulique, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland,

Serial Information: Journal of the Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 1, Pg. 1-12

Document Type: Journal Paper


Descriptions of the process by which energy from wind blowing over water is transferred into the water to create waves have been gradually becoming very complicated. A method of predicting wave heights as a function of wind velocity and fetch is developed which avoids the necessity for describing the complex transfer mechanism in detail. The method is based on simplified macroscopic momentum balance equations written for the air boundary layer. The loss of momentum in the air is assumed to be completely converted into the creation of waves. The resulting equations agree well with standard forecasting curves.

Subject Headings: Wind waves | Wind power | Water waves | Wave velocity | Wave equations | Hydro power | Wind forces | Wind speed

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