An experimental comparison of velocities underneath focussed breaking waves

Alberto Alberello, Amin Chabchoub, Jason P. Monty, Filippo Nelli, Jung Hoon Lee, John Elsnab, Alessandro Toffoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Nonlinear wave interactions affect the evolution of steep wave groups, their breaking and the associated kinematic field. Laboratory experiments are performed to investigate the effect of the underlying focussing mechanism on the shape of the breaking wave and its velocity field. In this regard, it is found that the shape of the wave spectrum plays a substantial role. Broader underlying wave spectra leads to energetic plungers at a relatively low amplitude. For narrower spectra waves break at higher amplitudes but with a less energetic spiller. Comparison with standard engineering methods commonly used to predict the velocity underneath extreme waves shows that, under certain conditions, the measured velocity profile strongly deviates from engineering predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date2 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Kinematics
  • Surface gravity waves
  • Velocity
  • Wave breaking
  • Wave focussing
  • Waves

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