On the growth rate of wind‐generated waves

M. Donelan, M. Skafel, H. Graber, P. Liu, D. Schwab, S. Venkatesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


A new approach to fetch‐limited wave studies is taken in this paper. Using data from five towers arranged along a line from the eastern shore of Lake St Clair, the differential growth between towers is explored as a function of local wave age. It is argued that this method avoids the usual fetch‐limited pitfall of inhomogeneity over long fetches and, in particular, the changes in wind speed downfetch of an abrupt roughness change. It is found that the growth rate decreases uniformly downfetch as the waves approach full development. This differential method leads to a smooth transition from rapidly growing short fetch waves to the asymptotic invariant state of full development. When the variation in wind speed after an abrupt (land to water) roughness change is taken into account, the idea of a universal fetch‐limited growth curve is called into question.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-478
Number of pages22
JournalAtmosphere - Ocean
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Atmospheric Science


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