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Abstract

Some coastal and offshore structures, e.g. offshore platforms and vertical wall

breakwaters in deep water, are often designed according to a design individual

wave height.

The conventional method for the determination of the design individual wave

height is first to obtain the design significant wave height corresponding to a

certain exceedence probability within a structure lifetime (encounter probability), based on the statistical analysis of long-term extreme significant wave

height. Then the design individual wave height is calculated as the expected

maximum individual wave height associated with the design significant wave

height, with the assumption that the individual wave heights follow the Rayleigh

distribution.

However, the exceedence probability of such a design individual wave height

within the structure lifetime is unknown.

The paper presents a method for the determination of the design individual

wave height corresponding to an exceedence probability within the structure

lifetime, given the long-term extreme significant wave height. The method

can also be applied for estimation of the number of relatively large waves for

fatigue analysis of constructions.

1. Introduction

Some coastal and offshore structures, e.g. offshore platforms and vertical wall

breakwaters in deep water, are often designed according to a design individual

wave height.

The determination of the design individual wave height is based on a long-term

wave measurement or hindcast. Most often the data set consist of maximum

Assistant Professor, Ph.D.

Professor, dr.techn., Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg University, Denmark

1027

1028

significant wave heights for the most severe storms within a number of years.

An extreme significant wave height is the peak value of the significant wave

height in a storm which exceeds a predefined threshold.

The conventional method for the determination of the design individual wave

height is first to obtain the design significant wave height corresponding to a

certain exceedence probability within a structure lifetime (encounter probability), based on the statistical analysis of the extreme data set. Then the design

individual wave height is calculated as the expected maximum individual wave

height associated with the design significant wave height (sea state), with the

assumption that the individual wave heights follow the Rayleigh distribution.

For example, if the design level for the design significant wave height is a

return period of 100 years (T=100 years), then by extreme analysis we find

out that H}00 yeaTS = 10.2 m. With the assumption that the individual wave

heights follow the Rayleigh distribution, the expected maximum individual

wave height associated with the design significant wave height is

(H

\

\nmax)mean

~

~

\JlnN

I V 2

0 577

/o~jju I

R^Oyears

"

*> >

practice it is normally assumed that N is in the order of 1000 for the stationary

peak of the storm, which corresponds to (Hmax)mean = 19.7 m.

However, the return period of such design individual wave height remains

unknown.

The paper presents a method for determination of the return period of a design

individual wave height. The encounter probability of the design individual

wave height, i.e. exceedence probability within structure lifetime L, is

V = 1 -

ex

p(-|)

(2)

The only input of the method is an extreme data set (minimum input). The

accuracy of the result can be improved if more information are available, e.g.

the duration of the storms, joint distribution of wave height and period etc.

The method can also be applied for estimation of the number of relatively

large waves for fatigue analysis of constructions.

1029

Because the structures are located in deep water, it is assumed that, with

a given significant wave height H, the individual wave height H follows the

Rayleigh distribution:

2

FR(H) = 1 -

eXp(-2(|-)

(3)

on some prototype records it is assumed that H grows and decays linearly

between the threshold of significant wave height, Hs<t, and the peak significant

wave height HStV. For the convenience, an equivalent storm history is used, cf.

Fig. 1.

Hsp

^o

Peak value of Hs

Storm duration

Hs

CD

/ / \\

/ /

"s,t 0v

\\

t.

t0

Realistic storm history

(Burcharth et al. 1992).

If it is further assumed that the average wave period within a storm is constant

and independent of Hs, then the distribution of individual wave height in a

storm is

FAH)

FS(H)

dH5

Hs.

fHs,p

Hs

-^ PexPf-2^1

dHs

HJ

(4)

Fig. 2. shows an example of the difference between the individual wave height

distribution in a storm and the Rayleigh distributions corresponding to HSit

and HStP, respectively.

1030

Nonexceedence Prob.

Rayleigh (H,Mt**2 m)

ft, (m)

H distribution in storm

Rayleigh (^P"S m)

Storm history

-to

<m>

1031

3. Long-term distribution of significant wave height: F{HS)

The long-term distribution of significant wave height is obtained by the statistical analysis of the extreme data set. The general procedure is:

1) Choice of the extreme data set based on long-term wave height

measurement/hindcast

2) Choice of several theoretical distributions as the candidates for the

extreme wave height distribution

3) Fitting of the extreme wave heights to the candidates by a fitting

method.

4) Choice of the distribution based on the comparison of the fitting

goodness among the candidates

For more details please refer to Burcharth et al. (1994). The obtained longterm distribution of Ha gives information on the occurrence probability of

storms over the threshold Hs<t (which can be converted to the number of the

storms in the structure lifetime), and the corresponding peak value Hs<v in the

storms.

4. Long-term distribution of individual wave height: FL{H)

If we keep the assumption that the average wave period is constant and independent of the significant wave height, the long-term distribution of individual

wave height can be expressed as (cf. Fig. 3)

/>oo

FL(H) = /

(5)

where f(Hs) is the density function of the long-term significant wave height

distribution, obtained by the extreme analysis, and FS(H) is the distribution

of individual wave height in a storm.

Density function

4

fs(H)

1032

wave height

According to the definition of return period, the return period of the individual

wave height H is

1

T =

A'(

(6)

FL(H))

where A' is the number of individual waves related to extreme storm, i.e. all

H in the storm > Hs,t, and FL{H) is the long-term distribution of individual

wave height.

The only unknown in eq (6) is A'. Obviously the value of A' depends on the

threshold level Hsj. The lower Haj, the larger A'.

Smith (1988) investigated by field measure the relation between Hs,t and P,

occurrence probability of the event Hs > Hsj- The threshold Htt is represented by the number of extreme storms per year, A. The definition of A and

P is illustrated by Fig. 4.

(all HBin the storm >Hs,t)

\ =2

P=4/13

Hs.t

years

Fig. 4-

The locations of the field measurement are given in Table 1. They represent

a wide geographical spread and variety of wave conditions. Each location

includes 58,440 significant wave heights by hindcast study three hours apart

from January 1, 1956 to December 31, 1975 (20 years).

Table 1.

1033

Site

0.65

0.65

0.67

Newport, Oregon

2.76

2.14

P = 0.003 A

(7)

as will be shown in the next example. Then the return period and encounter

probability of the individual wave height can be calculated by eqs (6) and (2),

respectively.

1034

6. Example

Extreme data set

An extreme wave data set for the 15 most severe storms in a period of 20

years for a deep water location in Mediterranean Sea is given in Table 2. The

data set is obtained by hindcast study. The threshold level for identifying the

extreme storms is Hsj = 3 m.

Table 2. Extreme wave data set.

Rank

Peak HS:

metres

Peak period Tp

seconds

Wave direction

degrees

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

9.32

14.0

14.1

13.4

10.8

11.9

11.1

12.3

10.5

10.7

10.6

11.8

9.9

9.2

10.5

11.1

143

139

123

123

143

185

135

176

150

129

161

120

122

137

154

8.11

7.19

7.06

6.37

6.15

6.03

5.72

4.92

4.90

4.78

4.67

4.64

4.19

3.06

The number of extreme storm per year is A = 15/20. By fitting the peak

significant wave height to the Weibull distribution

F(HS) = 1 - exp

(El.

(8)

and k = 1.83.

1035

T

1

(9)

A ( 1 - F{HS

(10)

The fitting is depicted in Fig. 5.

Return periods T (years)

W00-.

Weibull distribution

H"

""

=10.2 m

'

Fig. 5.

ft (m)

If the design level for the design significant wave height is a return period of

100 years (T=100 years), we get #s100 vears = 10.2 m.

By eq (1) with N = 1000 , the expected maximum individual wave height

associated with the design significant wave height is (Hmax)mean = 19.7 m. In

the following we will try to obtain the return period and encounter probability

OI \Hmax)"mean-

The long-term distribution of individual wave height is calculated by eq (5)

and shown in Fig. 6.

1036

Non~exceedence Prob.

10

15

20

25

Return period and encounter probability of individual wave height

By eq (7) we get the occurrence probability of the event (Hs > HSit)

P = 0.003A = 0.0025

If we assume that the average wave period is T = 12 s (average wave period

in Table 2), the number of individual waves per year is

365 x 24 x 60 x 60/T = 2,628,000

and the number of individual waves related to the extreme storm is

A' = 2,628,000 xP = 6750

The return period of individual wave height is calculated by eq (6) and shown

in Fig. 7.

1037

00 |

^

00-38 years

IO-_

21.4m

19.7m

1 =

10

Fig. 7.

15

By Fig.

Fig.

is 38 years.

20

25

Individual locrue height H (m)

years

21A m.

Encounter probability in 25 years

1

20

25

Individual wave height H (m)

Fig. 8.

103 8

7. Conclusions

A method for estimation of return period and encounter probability of

individual wave height has been developed. The method is based on

extremely limited wave information (extreme data set). Improvement of

the estimate can be expected if more information, e.g. the storm duration, is available.

The method can also be applied for estimation of the number of relatively large waves for fatigue analysis of constructions.

8. Acknowledgement

Our colleague Peter Frigaard is gratefully acknowledged for fruitful discussions

on the paper.

9. References

Burcharth, H.F. and Frigaard, P. (1992) Ciervana Breakwater, Puerto Autonorne

de Bilbao: Model test results. Department of Civil Engineering, Aalborg

University, Denmark, 1992

Burcharth, H.F. and Zhou Liu (1994) On the extreme wave height analysis.

Proceedings of HYDRO-PORT'94, Yokosuka, Japan, 19-21 October, 1994

Liu, Z. and Burcharth, H.F (1996) Design wave height related to structure lifetime. Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Coastal Engineering, Orlando, USA, 1996.

Smith, O.P. (1988) Duration of extreme wave conditions. Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, Vol. 114, No. 1, January

1988.

Sobey, R.J., Chandler, B.D. and Harper, B.A. (1990) Extreme waves and wave

counts in a hurricane. Proceedings of the International Conference on

Coastal Engineering, ASCE, 1990.

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