Oregon State University

Research: Nearshore Wave Predictions

Predicting nearshore waves is a key to reducing vulnerability

Community Resilience to Coastal Hazards and Climate Change

Nearshore Wave Predictions along the Oregon Coast (2010-2012)

Principle investigator: H. Tuba Ozkan-Haller
College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences
Oregon State University
104 COAS Administration Bldg
Corvallis, OR 97331-5503
Phone: 541-737-9170
Fax: 541-737-2064
On the Web:
Hinsdale Wave Research Lab
Co-investigator: Peter Ruggiero

As waves propagate from the open ocean over the continental shelf towards shore, they are affected by the underwater landscape (bathymetry) of the shelf. The US West Coast shelf is characterized by complicated bathymetry featuring numerous canyons and large banks. Such features, in different places, can either focus wave energy toward shore or divert waves away.

Such local variations affect boat traffic safety, and knowledge of local high-wave heights can aid in navigational planning. Furthermore, knowledge of the variations can help identify preferred sites for wave energy generation. Forecasts of local beach conditions, including storm surge and flood predictions needed by emergency responders and planners, also hinge on accurate nearshore wave forecasts. Finally, recreational user groups would welcome access to accurate nearshore wave forecasts.

Dr. Ozkan-Haller is attempting to build a numerical modeling system that can predict wave conditions along the entire Oregon coast in the nearshore ocean (to a shallow 10 meter water depth). Such a prediction system already exists for California and is being used extensively by coastal scientists and planners, commercial and recreational users. This suggests a high demand for such information all along the West Coast.

The results should be immediately useful for coastal vulnerability assessments, for quantifying engineering and management needs (such as storm-induced dune or cliff erosion, setback distances, or long-term changes in shoreline position), for navigational planning purposes, surfing forecasts and for the selection of sites for wave energy sites.

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Contact Info

Oregon Sea Grant
1600 SW Western Blvd
Suite 350
Corvallis OR 97333
Phone: 541-737-2714
FAX: 541-737-7958

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