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# The Waves

OCEA 101
Why should you care?
- waves provide as much
energy to the shore line
as the sun
- near shore and breaking
waves have a
considerable influence on
shoreline communities
Overview
Wave characteristics
Wave motions
Deep water waves
Shallow water waves
Wave groups
Wave refraction, diffraction and reflection
Tsunamis
Standing waves
Waves
A wave is the transmission of
energy through a
mediumthis is true for all
types of waves!
The particles of the medium
stay in the same general area
(there are no sound particles)
Wave Types
3 Types of waves:
Transverse (side to side)
Longitudinal (up-down)
Orbital (circular movement)
For Simplicity, we will
assume that ocean waves
are Sine Waves (this isnt
actually true!)
Net motion is up and down
(bobbing)
NOT a sine wave, so a slight
forward motion as well
Mathematical Description
Height (H) = crest to trough distance
Height (H) = crest to trough distance
Wavelength (L) = crest to crest distance
Height (H) = crest to trough distance
Wavelength (L) = crest to crest distance
Steepness = H/L (waves break when H/L>1/7)
Period (T) = time for one wavelength
Speed (C) = L/T
Frequency (f) = 1/T, or C = L x f
Wave Classification
Wave Speed
Wave speed is given by:
- g= acceleration due to gravity = 9.81 m/s
- tanh(x) is the hyperbolic tangent
Deep water waves: d>L/2,
Shallow water waves: d<L/20,
2
g 2 d
C L tanh
2 L

=

2
2 d g
tanh 1, C L
L 2

=

2
2 d 2 d
tanh , C gd
L L

=

Classification
Deep-Water Waves
Water depth (d) deeper than L/2
C = L/T, but its hard to measure L
C = gT / 2, --> C = 156 x T (m/s)
Particles
move in a
circular
pattern
Classification
Shallow-Water Waves (long waves)
Water depth (d) < 1/20 of L
C = ( g x d )
1/2
--> 3.1 x (d)
1/2
Therefore, as depth shallows, wave slows
Particles move elliptically, almost horizontally
Classification
Transitional waves
Length is > 2x but less than 20x depth (d)
Properties are somewhere between deep-
water and shallow-water waves
Wave Relations
Wind-Driven Waves
Capillary Waves --> Gravity Waves (Chop)
--> White Caps --> Swell
Can be Deep or Shallow waves
Restoring Force: the source of energy
dispersion that destroys a wave
Wind-Wave Formation
Waves increase energy by :
1) Wind Speed
2) Duration
3) Fetch
More
Definitions
Sea: local waves formed by wind events
Confused Sea: local irregular waves of
many periods and from many directions
Fully developed Sea: the waves that
form when fetch, wind speed, and
duration are maximal
Wave Train: waves that have left the
windy region and are sorted by period
Wave Trains
Sorted by
wavelength (and
therefore speed)
this is wave
dispersion
These become swell
Individual waves
appear to be moving
faster (2x) than the
group velocity
Interference Patterns
All waves can be combined algebraically
They combine in 3 patterns:
Constructive (phases match up)
Destructive (phases are exactly out of
alignment)
Mixed (most commonsomewhere in
between)
Rogue
Waves
Rogue
Waves
Can exceed 100 ft
ship-killers
Wave Trains
Storm Surge
Not really a wave
(we cant apply
our mathematical
descriptions to it)
Hurricanes pile
up water in the
right front
Tsunamis: Harbor Wave
Caused by a seismic
disturbance
Most common in the Pacific
Harmless until they hit the
coast
Internal Waves
Caused by changes in pycnocline
Doesnt require much energy to get
them going
The Surf Zone
Primary source of energy dissipation for
swell
When deep-water waves reach the
shore, they form breakers as H/L > 1/ 7
E=Total energy of a wave is
distributed over one wavelength
per unit width of crest from sea
surface to depth of L/2.
E is proportional to H
2
Recall that C=L/T
Shoaling waves or waves moving
against a current slow down
which means L decreases,
meaning that H must increase
to conserve energy.
Hence shoaling waves increase in
height, steepen and eventually break.
Waves moving against a current
Increase in height.
Refraction, Diffraction,
Reflection
Refraction: waves feel bottom and will turn (or
Refraction, Diffraction,
Reflection
Diffraction: waves
can move around
obstacles because
energy is propagated
in all directions
Wave Diffraction
Refraction, Diffraction,
Reflection
Reflection: two waves of same wavelength, but
moving in opposite directions, interact to form a
standing wave. There is NO circular motion!
Seiches (Standing Waves)
Second Node Standing Waves