The velocity field underneath a breaking rogue wave: Laboratory experiments versus numerical simulations

Alberto Alberello, Alessandro Iafrati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Wave breaking is the most characteristic feature of the ocean surface. Physical investigations (in the field and at laboratory scale) and numerical simulations have studied the driving mechanisms that lead to wave breaking and its effects on hydrodynamic loads on marine structures. Despite computational advances, accurate numerical simulations of the complex breaking process remain challenging. Validation of numerical codes is routinely performed against experimental observations of the surface elevation. However, it is still uncertain whether simulations can accurately reproduce the velocity field under breaking waves due to the lack of ad-hoc measurements. In the present work, the velocity field recorded with a Particle Image Velocimetry method during experiments conducted in a unidirectional wave tank is directly compared to the results of a corresponding numerical simulation performed with a Navier-Stokes (NS) solver. It is found that simulations underpredict the velocity close to the wave crest compared to measurements. Higher resolutions seem necessary in order to capture the most relevant details of the flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number68
Issue number2
Early online date2 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • CFD
  • Navier-Stokes
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Water waves
  • Wave breaking
  • Waves

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