Publication Date



As offshore wind development is in its infancy along the U.S. Atlantic Coast challenges arise due to the effects of strong storms such as hurricanes. Breaking waves on offshore structures induced by hurricanes are of particular concern to offshore structures due to high magnitude impulse loads caused by wave slamming. Prediction of breaking wave hazards is important in offshore design for load cases using long mean return periods of environmental conditions. A breaking wave hazard estimation model (BWHEM) is introduced that provides a means for assessing breaking hazard at long mean return periods over a large domain along the U.S. Atlantic Coast. The BWHEM combines commonly used breaking criteria with the Inverse First Order Method of producing environmental contours and is applied in a numerical study using a catalog of stochastic hurricanes. The result of the study shows that breaking wave hazard estimation is highly sensitive to the breaking criteria chosen. Criteria including wave steepness and seafloor slope were found to predict breaking conditions at shorter return periods than criteria with only wave height and water depth taken into consideration. Breaking hazard was found to be most important for locations closer to the coast, where breaking was predicted to occur at lower mean return periods than locations further offshore.

Journal or Book Title

ASCE/ASME Journal of Risk and Reliability


DOI: 10.1115/1.4051161