James Walker, John Headland


Determination of a design wave height at a coastal structure requires calculation of a shoaling coefficient or determination of the maximum probable breaking wave height at the point of interest. In shallow water over a sloping bottom, low steepness waves are not accurately predicted by linear shoaling coefficients. Empirical breaking indices are inconsistent with both linear and nonlinear wave theories. Nevertheless, the coastal engineer must select a design wave in order to responsibly design the structure. A graphical procedure is presented herein to relate the equivalent deepwater wave to a breaking wave as it transitions into shoaling water. The procedure provides the coastal engineer with a more consistent understanding of the shoaling process. The results furthermore identify regions of relative depth and steepness where discrepancies arise when using linear shoaling coefficients that may significantly alter engineering design and laboratory studies.


shoaling; nonlinear waves

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