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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-117
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 05 Jun 2018

Research article | 05 Jun 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

An Analysis of Swell and Bimodality Around the South and South-west Coastline of England

Daniel A. Thompson1, Harshinie Karunarathna2, and Dominic E. Reeve2 Daniel A. Thompson et al.
  • 1Jacobs Engineering Group, Burderop Park, Swindon, SN4 0QD, England, UK
  • 2College of Engineering, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Swansea, SA1 8EN, Wales, UK

Abstract. This paper presents an analysis of wave recordings with particular attention to assessing bimodality of the incident wave energy spectra and the occurrence of swell along the south and south-west coasts of the United Kingdom, (UK). A procedure is developed to perform an intensive analysis of a new and large dataset of measured wave spectra. A storm during February 2014 is analysed in detail, highlighting the observed wave conditions leading up to and during the collapse of the sea wall at Dawlish, UK. The analysis reveals the prevalence of trapped-fetch conditions and long-period swell during the February 2014 storm. Bimodality and the presence of swell are compared at three locations along the south coast of the UK. Results highlight the increase in bimodality during the 2013/2014 storm period, especially at Dawlish. The analysis also provides evidence of bimodality and swell waves occurring far along the English Channel. Observed wave conditions at Dawlish are compared to the parametric limits of empirical formulae to estimate wave overtopping. There were numerous instances of peak wave periods or wave heights outside the limits of the formulae, showing that existing design formulae do not yet adequately account for the range of conditions experienced in coastal waters.

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Short summary
We present an analysis of wave recordings along the south and south-west coasts of the United Kingdom, during the winter of 2013–2014. The storm that led to the collapse of the seawall at Dawlish is analysed in detail. The distribution of energy with wave period revealed a bimodal shape, with peaks in energy at approximately 7secs and 14secs. In many instances conditions lay outside the limits of empirical design formulae, providing an explanation for the extensive damage that occurred.
We present an analysis of wave recordings along the south and south-west coasts of the United...
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