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The statistics of extreme waves in the coastal zone

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Catherine Pearson.

The design and operation of structures and vessels in the coastal zone is largely dependent upon their ability to withstand large environmental loads. In most cases, critical environmental loading arises from the largest waves that hit coastal assets. As such, an accurate description of the characteristics of these largest waves is a top priority for scientists and engineers. This talk will address the statistical description of large storm waves in the coastal zone by analysing extensive datasets of (a) laboratory measurements conducted in the Hydrodynamics laboratory at Imperial College London and (b) field measurements from fixed offshore platforms in the North Sea. In doing so, the key physical mechanisms that lead to the formation of extreme waves will be identified. Specifically, new findings about the competing effects that nonlinear wave-wave interactions and wave breaking have on the statistical distribution of waves will be presented. These will be used to derive new statistical distributions for waves that are applicable to a wide range of water depths. Finally, I will discuss the implications of using the new, improved models instead of existing models in the engineering design and assessment of offshore and coastal assets.

This talk is part of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Flows (IEEF) series.

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