Parameterization of Maximum Wave Heights Forced by Hurricanes: Application to Corpus Christi, Texas
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In recent times, communities and structures along the Gulf of Mexico have experienced the destructive and devastating impact of hurricane surges and waves. While the impacts of surges have been studied, there exists a need for (1) the understanding of open-coast and bay environment hurricane wave conditions and (2) expedient prediction, for rapid evaluation, of wave hazards as a function of hurricane parameters. This thesis presents the coupled ADCIRC-SWAN numerical model results of wave height sensitivity based on the investigation of several hurricane parameters. Also presented is the development of parameterized maximum significant wave height models. These are determined by incorporating three forms of an equivalent fetch into (1) dimensionless best-fit equations and (2) Shoreline Protection Manual (SPM) method. Computational results indicate that for a range of simulated hurricane parameters, a wide range of spatial and temporal characteristics, for the significant wave height, exists. The location of hurricane landfall results in a significant difference in the wave height at specified points. Additionally, the variation in central pressures, radius sizes and forward speeds leads to elevated surge levels that contribute to wave generation. Furthermore, the time evolution trend of the generation of the significant wave height is found to be unique to its geographic location. In the development of parameterized maximum significant wave height models, the dimensionless best-fit equation approach indicates how strongly the various forms of the equivalent fetch and the bathymetric depth ultimately determines the predicted maximum significant wave height. This approach yielded RMSE that range between 0.52m – 0.68m. Additionally, the accuracy for this approach varied greatly as the highest scatter index was 0.28 for the open-coast points and 0.37 for the bay points. The SPM approach gives an indication of how strongly the functional form of the equivalent fetch determines the predicted maximum significant wave height. When compared to the dimensionless approach, this method produced a lower RMSE of 0.37m and a greater accuracy for the scatter index of 0.23 for the open-coast points and 0.31 for the bay points.
Taylor, Sym 1978- (2012). Parameterization of Maximum Wave Heights Forced by Hurricanes: Application to Corpus Christi, Texas. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from