PROBABILITY DENSITY FUNCTIONS OF BREAKING WAVES

Edward B. Thornton, George Schaeffer

Abstract


Waves in the surf zone are a highly nonlinear process which is evident by the appearance of secondary waves. The secondary waves appear as strong peaks in the period PDFs corresponding to the first harmonic of the peak of the wave spectrum. The strong first harmonic period peak is also reflected in the highly correlated height and velocity PDFs. Due to the high probability of the secondary waves, the mean wave period for breakers is a poor descriptor of the average period of the offshore incident waves. The joint probability density functions for periods and heights of the breaking waves show high correlation (0.60-0.80) which says that greater wave periods are associated with larger breaker heights. The joint PDFs of period and particle velocity, and velocity and height, suggest that the maximum onshore particle velocities are correlated with both the wave periods and wave heights.

Keywords


breaking waves; probability density function; probability

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