Height-Period Joint Probabilities in Hurricane Camille

by Marshall D. Earle, Oceanographer; U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Washington, D.C.,
Curtis C. Ebbesmeyer, Oceanographer; Evans-Hamilton, Inc., Seattle, WA,
Douglas J. Evans, Manager, Eastern Region; Evans-Hamilton, Inc., Bethesda, MD,

Serial Information: Journal of the Waterways, Harbors and Coastal Engineering Division, 1974, Vol. 100, Issue 3, Pg. 257-264

Document Type: Journal Paper


An ocean data gathering program in the Gulf of Mexico obtained continuous wave records from six offshore petroleum production platforms during the passage of several hurricanes and tropical storms. This note describes the joint probability of wave heights and periods as hurricane Camille (August 1969, one of the most severe hurricanes on record) approached and passed near one of the six platforms. This analysis was motivated by a need to estimate probabilities of wave height and period combinations which produce bottom pressures capable of triggering submarine mudslides off the Mississippi River delta. The observed joint probabilities are compared to a frequently used joint distribution. The results presented are useful for calculating other probabilities which are functions of hurricane wave height and period. Applications include determination of differential bottom pressures between wave crests and troughs capable of triggering submarine slumping on continental shelves, calculation of drag and inertial forces exerted on structures, and estimation of vessel motion in high seas.

Subject Headings: Joints | Probability | Hurricanes and typhoons | Wave height | Submerging | Pressure vessels | Wave crest | Gulfs | Gulf of Mexico | Mississippi River

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