The wave spectrum in archipelagos

Björkqvist, Jan-Victor; Pettersson, Heidi; Kahma, Kimmo K.

Sea surface waves are important for marine safety and coastal engineering, but mapping the wave properties at complex shorelines, such as coastal archipelagos, is challenging. The wave spectrum, E(f), contains a majority of the information about the wave field, and its properties have been studied for decades. Nevertheless, any systematic research into the wave spectrum in archipelagos has not been made. In this paper we present wave buoy measurements from 14 locations in the Finnish archipelago. The shape of the wave spectrum showed a systematic transition from a single-peaked spectrum to a spectrum with a wide frequency range having almost constant energy. The exact shape also depended on the wind direction, since the fetch, island, and bottom conditions are not isotropic. The deviation from the traditional spectral form is strong enough to have a measurable effect on the definitions of the significant wave height. The relation between the two definitions in the middle of the archipelago was H1/3=0.881Hs, but the ratio varied with the spectral width (Hs was defined using the variance). At this same location the average value of the single highest wave, HmaxHs, was only 1.58. A wider archipelago spectrum was also associated with lower confidence limits for the significant wave height compared to the open sea (6 % vs. 9 %). The challenges caused by the instability of the peak frequency for an archipelago spectrum are presented, and the mean frequency, weighted with E(f)4, is proposed as a compromise between stability and bias with respect to the peak frequency. The possibility of using the frequency and width parameters of this study as a starting point for a new analytical parameterisation of an archipelago type spectrum is discussed.

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Björkqvist, Jan-Victor / Pettersson, Heidi / Kahma, Kimmo K.: The wave spectrum in archipelagos. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Jan-Victor Björkqvist et al.

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