Significant wave height for shallow water design

Edward F. Thompson, C. L. Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Wave height parameters used in coastal and ocean engineering are grouped into three classes according to their definition bases: Height statistics, energy, and monochromatic. Parameters within each class are easily interrelated lor most engineering purposes. However, parameters from different classes are difficult to interrelate, particularly for shallow water applications where waves are near breaking. The often-used parameter “significant wave height” has traditionally been based on height statistics but many modern estimates are based on wave energy. A simple empirical method is developed to relate statistical and energy based significant height estimates. The method is developed with CERC laboratory flume data from a 1:30 plane slope, two samples of field data, and stream function wave theory. Since the two significant height estimates differ by over 40% in some laboratory cases, engineers should clearly recognize the distinction between them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)828-842
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Significant wave height for shallow water design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this