E.B. Thornton, C.S. Wu, R.T. Guza


Breaking wave heights measured in both field and random wave laboratory experiments are examined. The dependence of breaker height and breaker depth on beach slope and deep water steepness is presented. The results are compared with the design curves of the Shore Protection Manual (SPM) and the predictions of the randan wave model by Goda (1975). The comparisons indicate that the significant breaker height, based on Goda's model, is slightly conservative for the experimental cases; but the maximum breaker heights are reasonably predicted by the model. The design procedures in the SPM are based on a monochromatic wave breaking, and appear overly conservative, particularly for low wave steepness (less than 0.01) which occur frequently on the West Coast of the United States. The use of the Rayleigh distribution to predict wave height statistics is tested with random wave data for both deep and shallow water regions.


breaking waves; design criteria; wave design

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