Table of Contents
ISRN Civil Engineering
Volume 2011, Article ID 132769, 7 pages
Research Article

Modeling of on Shore Propagation of Random Water Waves

Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Giza 12613, Egypt

Received 14 July 2011; Accepted 17 August 2011

Academic Editor: M. K. Jha

Copyright © 2011 K. M. Fassieh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Two numerical models are investigated to model random water waves (RWWs) transformation due to mild depth variation. Modelling of steady on-shore propagation of small-amplitude RWWs is based on superposition principle of waves of different heights and directions. Each component is simulated through either the parabolic model (PM) or the elliptic model (EM). PM simulates weak refraction, diffraction, shoaling, and wave breaking. EM simulates strong refraction, diffraction, and shoaling. Both models neglect wave reflection. Comparison between PM and EM, in test cases that are experimentally measured, proved that both models give good results for unidirectional and narrow-directional RWW. However, EM is more accurate in modelling broad-directional RWWs.

1. Introduction

In studying many coastal engineering problems, it is essential to have accurate information on wave conditions in the area of interest. These wave conditions, including the wave height and the dominant wave direction, are usually obtained through a wave transformation model that transfers the wave characteristics from the location where the wave data are collected to the site of concern. Because of depth variation, coastal currents, artificial structures, and geological features, waves change their propagation direction and speed and redistribute their energy along wave crests as waves approach the shore. Inside the surf zone, where breaking is an important feature, waves have more severe transformation.

Researchers have developed the mild-slope equation to simulate shoaling, refraction, reflection, diffraction, and breaking of regular water waves, when the rate of change of depth bottom slope up to 1 : 3 [1] and the current is small within wave length. It is a two-dimensional partial differential equation of elliptic type that can be solved as a boundary-value problem using specified appropriate boundary conditions. Its computational requirements are too large relative to the ray tracing method, since the entire domain must be solved simultaneously and the grid size must be small enough to allow eight to ten nodes within a wavelength. Ebersole presented a modified method as an efficient way to solve the elliptic form of the mild-slope equation [2].

Situation becomes more complex when modeling of random water waves (RWWs) transformation. The extended mild-slope equation of Suh et al. [3] and Lee et el. [4] are compared analytically and numerically to determine their applicability to random wave transformation. The phenomenon of breaking of RWW was treated also in many works; see, for example, [5], where two numerical formulations of breaking phenomenon were implemented in a numerical model for RWW propagation. A low-frequency spectrum in a harbour excited by short and random incident waves was modeled in [6].

An alternative numerical scheme, the parabolic approximation, has been developed and applied to the mild-slope equation to reduce the computational effort. However, the parabolic approximation has two disadvantages compared to the elliptic formulation; it assumes weak refraction and no wave reflection [7].

In the following sections, we will introduce both the parabolic (PM) and elliptic models (EM) for single wave and extend them to model RWW propagation. The incident RWW is decomposed into a spectrum of multiple waves. Each wave, has its different height and direction, is propagated by PM or EM, and then superposition is imposed. In Section 4, both models are compared to experimental data of Vincent and Briggs [8] to investigate their limitations and accuracy.

2. The Parabolic Model

Application of the parabolic equation method to investigate wave transformation needs that the propagation directions of all concerned components of the wave field to be confined to some narrow band of directions centered about the dominant propagation direction. The allowed directional bandwidth is limited by the maximum allowed error in the principal direction.

2.1. Derivation of the Parabolic Governing Equation

Kirby started with the mild-slope equation [9]𝜕2Φ𝜕𝑡2.𝑐𝑐𝑔+𝜔Φ2𝑘2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜀+𝑖𝜎2Φ=0,(1)𝑐𝑔 = group velocity; 𝑐 = wave celerity; 𝑘 = wave number; 𝜎= wave frequency;𝜀 breaking coefficient; =(𝜕/𝜕𝑥,𝜕/𝜕𝑦).

The last term in (1) is dissipation function𝜀 to model frictional dissipation [10] or wave breaking [9]. Introducing the harmonic time representation of the wave potential as Φ=𝜑𝑒𝑖𝜔𝑡,(2) where𝜔, angular frequency,𝑑𝜔𝑑𝑘=𝑐𝑔,𝑐(3)2𝑘2=𝜔2=𝑔𝑘tanh𝑘.(4) Then, (1) can be simplified as𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜑𝑥𝑥+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜑𝑦𝑦+𝑘2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜀𝑖𝜔2𝜑=0.(5) Rewrite (5) following the splitting method used by Kirby [7]𝜙𝑥𝑥+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑥𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜙𝑥+𝑘2𝑀1+𝑘2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜙=0,(6) where 𝑀𝜙=𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜙𝑦𝑦𝜀𝑖𝜎2𝜙.(7) The goal of the parabolic approximation is to split the reduced elliptic equation (6) for𝜙 into parabolic equations for a forward scattered wave 𝜙+ and a backward scattered wave𝜙, where𝜙=𝜙++𝜙.(8) According to the parabolic assumption of no reflection the reflected wave 𝜙 is neglected, and (6) is shown by Kirby and Dalrymple [9] to be parabolic equation of 𝜙+ because it has a first derivative in the longitudinal direction 𝑥𝜎𝑐𝑔𝜙𝑥+𝜎2𝑐𝑔𝑥𝜙𝑖𝑘𝜎𝑐𝑔+34𝑀1𝜙4𝑀𝜙𝑘𝑥𝑘2+𝑐𝑔𝑥2𝑘𝑐𝑔+1𝑀4𝑘𝜙𝑥𝜀+𝜎2𝜙=0,(9) where 𝑀𝜙=(𝑐𝑐𝑔𝜙𝑦)𝑦.

The amplitude form of the parabolic equation is derived from (9) by making the substitution 𝜑=𝑖𝑔2𝐴𝜎𝑒𝑖𝑘,(10) where 𝑘=(1/𝐵)𝐵0𝑘(𝑥,𝑦)𝑑𝑦, where 𝐵 is the domain width 𝜕𝐴𝑖𝜕𝑥𝑘𝑘𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑥2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝜀𝑐𝑔𝐴+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑦4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑖𝑘𝑘𝑘3𝑥𝑘2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑥2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑦𝑥4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝐴𝑦+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑦4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝐴𝑥𝑦+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑦4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑖𝑘𝑘𝑘3𝑥𝑘2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑥2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑥4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝐴𝑦𝑦+14𝑘2𝐴𝑦𝑦𝑥=0.(11) The finite difference scheme for (11) follows directly using the Crank-Nicolson method for performing an implicit update for each row in 𝑥-direction. Denote 𝑥 positions by “i” superscripts and 𝑦 positions “𝑗” subscripts. The computations proceed row by row by updating values of 𝐴 from the known “𝑖” row to the unknown “𝑖+1” row. The difference scheme will be 𝐶𝑃1𝑖𝑗𝐴𝑖+1𝑗1+𝐶𝑃2𝑖𝑗𝐴𝑗𝑖+1+𝐶𝑃3𝑗𝑖1𝐴𝑖+1𝑗+1=𝐶1𝑖𝑗𝐴𝑖𝑗1+𝐶2𝑖𝑗𝐴𝑖𝑗+𝐶3𝑗𝑖1𝐴𝑖𝑗+1.(12)

2.2. Parabolic Modeling of Random Waves Propagation

It is assumed that the water surface is composed of multiple components of waves. Each wave has angular frequency 𝜔𝑚 and direction𝜃𝑛. The refraction, shoaling, and diffraction of discrete wave components are assumed to be governed by the parabolic model of Kirby and Dalrymple [9]. Rewrite (11), the governing equation of complex wave amplitude, by replacing 𝐴 by𝐴𝑚𝑛. Indices 𝑚 and 𝑛 will be used to represent frequency and direction, respectively [11]𝜕𝐴𝑚𝑛𝑖𝑘𝜕𝑥𝑚𝑘𝑚𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑚𝑥2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑚𝜀𝑐𝑔𝐴𝑚𝑛+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑚𝑦4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑚𝑖𝑘𝑚𝑘𝑚𝑘3𝑚𝑥𝑘2𝑚𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑚𝑥2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝑚+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑚𝑦𝑥4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝑚𝐴𝑚𝑛𝑦+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑚𝑦4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝑚𝐴𝑚𝑛𝑥𝑦+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑚𝑦4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑚𝑖𝑘𝑚𝑘𝑚𝑘3𝑚𝑥𝑘2𝑚(𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘)𝑚𝑥2𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝑚+𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑚𝑥4𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑘2𝑚𝐴𝑚𝑛𝑦𝑦+14𝑘2𝑚𝐴𝑚𝑛𝑦𝑦𝑥=0,(13) where 𝑐𝑔𝑚=group velocity 𝑐𝑚 = wave celerity and 𝑘𝑚= wave number of the 𝑚th component.

The discretization process of the directional spectrum results in wave components of amplitude 𝐴𝑚𝑛with an associated frequency 𝑓𝑚and an angle of incidence𝜃𝑛. The transformed spectrum can be evaluated at any grid point by the superposition of the different wave components. Assuming a Rayleigh distribution of the wave heights and using the computed information about spectral components at locatio{𝑥,𝑦}, the significant wave height can be computed as𝐻𝑠8(𝑥,𝑦)=𝑁𝑓𝑁𝑚=1𝜃𝑛=1||𝐴𝑚𝑛||(𝑥,𝑦)21/2,(14) where 𝑁𝑓 and 𝑁𝜃= number of discretizations in frequency and direction, respectively.

3. The Elliptic Model

The mild-slope equation (1) has been used to study various kinds of combined refraction, diffraction, shoaling, and reflection phenomena. It was reported that the solutions from the mild-slope equation agreed excellently with the experimental data for waves scattered by a submerged shoal [12]. It was also found that the mild-slope equation could produce accurate solution even the bottom slope is large as 45° [10].

To decrease computational effort, a new numerical method to solve the boundary-value problem of the mild-slope equation is needed. Ebersole [2] presented this method as an efficient way to solve the elliptic form of the mild-slope equation. Balas and Inan [13] used the same technique of Ebersole [2] to solve a field wave transformation problem.

3.1. Derivation of the Elliptic Governing Equation

Following Liu [1], write the wave velocity potential as Φ=Z(𝑧)𝜙=𝑖𝑔cosh(𝑧+)𝐴cosh𝑘𝜔𝑒𝑖𝑠,(15) where both 𝐴 and 𝑠 are real functions. Substituting (15) into (1) and multiplying the resulting equation by𝐴/𝜔, for monochromatic steady propagation, we can get||||𝑠2=𝑘2+2𝐴𝐴+𝑐𝑐𝑔.𝐴𝑐𝑐𝑔𝐴,𝑐(16).𝑔𝑠𝑘𝐴2𝜔=0.(17) We can write 𝑠=|𝑠|𝑠 and 𝑘𝜔=𝑐,then (17) will take the form.𝑐𝑐𝑔||||𝑠𝑠𝐴2=0.(18) The wave energy propagates in the 𝑠 direction, and, due to effects of diffraction, the wave energy flux is no longer conservative along wave rays. The curves tangential to the effective wave number vector𝑠 may be viewed as the “effective wave rays” for the mild-slope equation; see Liu [1].

We now define 𝜃, the angle of wave propagation as||||𝑠=𝑠cos𝜃𝑖+sin𝜃𝑗.(19) The eikonal equation and the transport equation can be recast as ||||𝑠2=𝑘2+1𝐻𝜕2𝐻𝜕𝑥2+𝜕2𝐻𝜕𝑦2+1𝑐𝑐𝑔×𝜕𝐻𝜕𝜕𝑥𝑐𝑐𝑔+𝜕𝑥𝜕𝐻𝜕𝜕𝑦𝑐𝑐𝑔,𝜕𝑦(20)𝜕𝐻𝜕𝑥2𝑐𝑐𝑔||||+𝜕𝑠cos𝜃𝐻𝜕𝑦2𝑐𝑐𝑔||||𝑠sin𝜃=0,(21) where 𝐻 = wave height = double wave amplitude, 𝐴.

The wave number vector is irrotational, hence𝜕||||+𝜕𝜕𝑥𝑠sin𝜃||||𝜕𝑦𝑠cos𝜃=0.(22) Equations (20), and (21), and (4) constitute the coupled governing equations for𝐻,|𝑠|,𝜃.

3.2. Numerical Solution

A three-step approximate iterative scheme to solve these equations is developed [2](i)First, using the known depth, the linear dispersion relation is solved for the wave number, 𝑘, and then the wave celerity, 𝑐, and the group velocity, 𝑐𝑔. Snell’s law is formulated as sin𝜃𝑜𝑐𝑜=sin𝜃𝑐,(23) where 𝑐𝑜 = deep water wave celerity = 𝑔/2𝜋; 𝜃𝑜 = initial angle of incidence. Through Snell’s law, the direction 𝜃 is obtained at all grid points. The refraction and shoaling coefficients are calculated as 𝐾𝑟=cos𝜃0cos𝜃1/2,𝐾𝑠=1(1+2𝑘/sinh2𝑘)1/2.(24) An initial approximation for the wave height at grid points is estimated by 𝐻=𝐻𝑜𝐾𝑟𝐾𝑠.(25)(ii)Second, the refraction problem is solved. We can write (22) as 𝜕𝐴𝑠+𝜕𝑥𝜕𝐴𝑐𝜕𝑦=0,(26) where𝐴𝑠=|𝑠|sin𝜃;𝐴𝑐=|𝑠|cos𝜃. Express the 𝑥-derivative as forward and the 𝑦-derivative as central 𝐴𝑠𝑖+1,𝑗=𝐴𝑠𝑖,𝑗+𝑟𝐴𝑐𝑖,𝑗+1𝐴𝑐𝑖,𝑗1,(27) where𝑟=Δ𝑥/2Δ𝑦. Let|𝑠|=𝑘, from (27) 𝜃 is then obtained as 𝜃𝑖+1,𝑗=sin1𝐴𝑠||||𝑠𝑖+1,𝑗.(28) To the refracted wave height, we can write (21) as 𝜕𝐻𝑐+𝜕𝑥𝜕𝐻𝑠𝜕𝑦=0,(29) where𝐻𝑐=𝐻2𝑐𝑐𝑔|𝑠|cos𝜃;𝐻𝑠=𝐻2𝑐𝑐𝑔|𝑠|sin𝜃. Express the 𝑥-derivative as forward and the 𝑦-derivative as central 𝐻𝑐𝑖+1,𝑗=𝐻𝑐𝑖,𝑗+𝑟𝐻𝑠𝑖,𝑗+1𝐻𝑠𝑖,𝑗1.(30) The relation|𝑠|=𝑘is still used; the wave height is then obtained as 𝐻𝑖+1,𝑗=𝐻𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑔||||𝑠cos𝜃1/2𝑖+1,𝑗.(31)(iii)To solve for diffraction, (20) is solved to obtain the modified wave number due to diffraction. In (20), express the 𝑥-derivative as backward and the 𝑦-derivatives as central.

Then, we can get||||𝑠2𝑖,𝑗=𝑘2𝑖,𝑗+1𝐻𝑖,𝑗𝐻𝑖2,𝑗2𝐻𝑖1,𝑗+𝐻𝑖,𝑗(Δ𝑥)2+𝐻𝑖,𝑗+12𝐻𝑖,𝑗+𝐻𝑖+1,𝑗(Δ𝑦)2+1𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑖,𝑗𝐻𝑖,𝑗×𝐻𝑖,𝑗𝐻𝑖1,𝑗(Δ𝑥)𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑖,𝑗𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑖1,𝑗(+𝐻Δ𝑥)𝑖,𝑗+1𝐻𝑖,𝑗12(Δ𝑦)𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑖,𝑗+1𝑐𝑐𝑔𝑖,𝑗1.2(Δ𝑦)(32)

Now, the modified wave number is inserted in (27) and solved for angle of propagation. (29) is then resolved for the wave height, and (32) is solved for the modified wave number. This algorithm is repeated until the error in the wave height is less than 1%. This solution method ignores reflection, since it marches toward the shoreline. This procedure takes advantage of the elliptic form of the mild-slope equation of full refraction.

3.3. Elliptic Modeling of Random Waves Propagation

The method adopted, for modeling of random waves propagation, is based on spectral calculation method of Goda [14], which assumes linear behavior between different components of the directional spectrum. The incident directional spectrum is discretized into components. Each component has its own frequency and direction. The solution of each component is carried through the elliptic model of Ebersole [2]. The transformed spectrum can be evaluated at any grid point by the superposition of the different wave components. Assuming a Rayleigh distribution of the wave heights and using the computed information about spectral components at location{𝑥,𝑦}, the significant wave height can be computed as𝐻𝑠2(𝑥,𝑦)=𝑁𝑓𝑁𝑚=1𝜃𝑛=1||𝐻𝑚𝑛||(𝑥,𝑦)21/2,(33) where 𝑁𝑓 and 𝑁𝜃 = number of discretizations in frequency and direction, respectively.

4. Comparison between the Parabolic and Elliptic Models

To investigate the limits of (PM) and (EM) in modeling the propagation of RWW, both are tested versus the experimental data of Vincent and Briggs [8]. The test includes only nonbreaking series. Nonbreaking series will enable us to compare their abilities in modeling of refraction, diffraction, and shoaling of RWW over a submerged shoal.

4.1. Experiment Setup

The basin is approximately 35 m wide and 29 m long. The basin is flat of uniform depth of 45.72 cm, except a shoal. The shoal center is located at 𝑥 = 6.01 m and 𝑦 = 13.72 m. The elliptical shoal has a major radius of 3.96 m, minor radius of 3.05 m, and height of 30.48 cm at the center. The shoal perimeter is given by𝑥3.052+𝑦3.962=1,(34) where 𝑥=(𝑥6.01)m;𝑦=(𝑦13.72)m.

The water depth over the shoal is given by𝑥=0.9144.76212+𝑦3.8124.951/2m.(35) The inputs of the experiment for random waves are in the form of the directional wave spectrum as𝑆(𝑓,𝜃)=𝐺(𝑓)𝐷(𝑓,𝜃),(36) where 𝐺(𝑓) represent a one-dimensional frequency spectrum and 𝐷(𝑓,𝜃) is a directional spreading function that satisfies 02𝜋𝐷(𝑓,𝜃)𝑑𝜃=1.(37)

The irregular wave frequency spectrum produced by the laboratory was TMA [15].

There are two frequency spectra, narrow and broad, which are paired with two different directional spreading, narrow and broad directional spectra narrow and broad.

4.2. Comparison of Results

The results are compared for the nonbreaking series of monochromatic and spectral distribution from case 1 up to case 7 including all varieties of random wave spectra. Test results are all at transect 4 which lies behind the shoal and shows both refraction and diffraction phenomena. For all test cases: wave period is 1.3 sec and representative wave height is 2.54 cm. They have one monochromatic incident wave M2 and two input unidirectional wave frequency spectra (narrow U3 and broad U4). However, they have for input directional wave spectra,

N: narrow directional spreading,

B: broad directional spreading,

3: narrow frequency spreading,

4: broad frequency spreading.

The input spectra for spectral test cases are all combinations of the shapes of Figures 1 and 2. In Figures 3, 4, 5, and 6, we have the output of comparison between the PM and EM as compared to experimental data at Section 4.

Figure 1: Input frequency spectra.
Figure 2: Input directional spectra.
Figure 3: Comparison between PM and EM and experimental data for cases (U3 and N3).
Figure 4: Comparison between PM and EM and experimental data for cases (U4 and N4).
Figure 5: Comparison between PM and EM and experimental data for cases (B3 and B4).
Figure 6: Comparison between PM and EM and experimental data for case (M2).

In general, the numerical models and experimental data show that the difference between the monochromatic wave (M2) and random wave cases (N3, B3, N4, and B4) is dramatic. The pattern associated with the monochromatic wave shows wave height amplification of about 2.5. The wide directional spectral waves (B3 and B4), in contrast, have no amplification greater than 1.2 (which is almost 50% less than the monochromatic case). On the other hand, the narrow directional spread cases (N3 and N4) reach amplification of 1.8 (which is almost 30% less than monochromatic case). The unidirectional cases (U3 and U4) give results close to the monochromatic case.

Comparison of the four directional spectral cases indicates that directional spreading is a more effective parameter than frequency spreading. The patterns of narrow spread cases (N3 and N4) are reasonably similar and those of broad spread cases (B3 and B4) are also reasonably similar.

The unidirectional cases are more like the monochromatic wave than the directional cases. Comparison between the numerical models and the experimental data show that the PM and EM give good results for the monochromatic wave, the unidirectional cases, and the narrow spread cases. In contrast, the EM gives good results for the broad spread cases, while PM does not. Also, the peak relative wave height is almost perfectly reached by the EM but the PM gives slight overestimation in the monochromatic, the narrow spread, and the unidirectional cases and a higher overestimation in the broad spread cases.

Finally, the monochromatic wave representation is good for the unidirectional spectra and adequate for the narrow directional spectra, but it is not accurate for the broad directional spectra.

5. Conclusions

(1) Directional spreading of random water waves is more significant than their energy spreading in the frequency space.

(2) The difference in results between PM and EM depends mainly on the directional spreading of the incident wave spectra. The results are close for monochromatic, unidirectional, and narrow directional spectra, while the results for broad directional spectra are different. EM can cover all incident directions, and hence, its results are more accurate than PM.

(3) The parabolic model is efficient in cases of weak refraction, because the less efficient elliptic model gives the same results.


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