Joint Probability of Superelevated Water Levels and Wave Heights at Duck, North Carolina

by Douglas A. Gaffney, Philadelphia, USAE District Philadelphia, United States,
Gregory L. Williams, (A.M.ASCE), Philadelphia, USAE District Philadelphia, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Ocean Wave Measurement and Analysis


Storm events are typically classified as a percent occurrence or return interval based on their peak storm elevation. The stage is the combination of storm surge, astronomical tide and other large spatial scale characteristics. Alternatively, wave heights are classified using the statistical probability of the entire range of wave are more locally affected and of a smaller spatial scale than the storm stage. Intuitively, we know that storms, having superelevated water levels, occur simultaneously with increased wave heights, yet the joint occurrences of both parameters cannot be predicted with confidence based on empirical data. Wave forces and water levels are used in the design of coastal structures and the determination of the level of protection. However, the probabilistic combination of high energy waves and storm stage are not often considered jointly. By considering the joint occurrence of both the water and wave heights, a more complete idea of the actual recurrence interval of a storm may be determined, as well as the level of protection of a shore protection project. Additionally, knowing the joint probability of occurrance can help define levels of protection in the case of emergency response measures in the aftermath of a storm. This paper addresses these concerns by investigating the joint probability of storm surge and wave heights.

Subject Headings: Water waves | Storms | Joints | Probability | Water level | Stormwater management | Coastal protection structures | Storm surges | North Carolina

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