Coastal wave-height statistics during Hurricane Ike

Sashikant Nayak, Vijay Panchang

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The statistical behavior of wave heights obtained from short-term (i.e., 30-min) wave records during Hurricane Ike was investigated. Spectral data from seven temporary pressure gauges and one National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) buoy moored off the coast of Texas, covering a 12-day period, were used. The wave heights, based on time series reconstructed from the spectra, showed a very good fit to the form of the Rayleigh distribution with Hrms as the parameter of the distribution, whereas the use of the spectrally derived parameter √8m0 led to overprediction of the wave heights. Incorporating the spectral band width (α) in the Rayleigh distribution reduced this overprediction. The empirical two-parameter Weibull distribution was also found to represent the wave-height distribution well, but with parameters different from a = 2.126 and b = 8.42. The Tayfun model, used as a representative of Rayleigh-like models, provided the best fit. When converting model-derived significant wave heights to other quantities, such as H1/10, H1/100; and Hmax, the standard Rayleigh coefficients are often used in practice. These led to considerable errors in the present analysis, which also shows that the use of correction factor or α can enhance the results. However, direct estimates of these quantities from a time series simulated using the model-derived spectrum may be an even better alternative to using the standard Rayleigh coefficients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04015026
JournalJournal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016



  • Rayleigh distribution
  • Significant wave height
  • Wave simulation
  • Wave-height statistics
  • Weibull distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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