Full Content is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >

Ocean Swell: How Much Do We Know

[+] Author Affiliations
Alexander V. Babanin

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Haoyu Jiang

Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Paper No. OMAE2017-61692, pp. V03AT02A010; 8 pages
  • ASME 2017 36th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 3A: Structures, Safety and Reliability
  • Trondheim, Norway, June 25–30, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5765-6
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Swell waves are present in more than 80% of ocean seas, and provide significant adverse impact on maritime operations. Their prediction by wave-forecast models, however, is poor, both in terms of wave amplitude and, particularly, arrival time. The very definition of ocean swell is ambiguous: while it is usually perceived as former wind-generated waves, in fact it may reconnect with the local wind through nonlinear interactions. The paper will bring together an overview of the complex swell problem. The visible swell attenuation is driven by a number of dissipative and non-dissipative processes. The dissipative phenomena include interaction with turbulence on the water and air sides, with adverse winds or currents. Non-dissipative contributions to the gradual decline of wave amplitude come from frequency dispersion, directional spreading, refraction by currents, and lateral diffraction of wave energy. The interactions with local winds/waves can, on the contrary, cause swell growth. Swell arrival time is the least understood and the most uncertain problem. Joint analysis of buoy observations and model reanalysis shows that swell can be tens of hours early or late by comparison with model predictions. Linear and nonlinear effects which can contribute to such biases are discussed.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Oceans



Interactive Graphics


Country-Specific Mortality and Growth Failure in Infancy and Yound Children and Association With Material Stature

Use interactive graphics and maps to view and sort country-specific infant and early dhildhood mortality and growth failure data and their association with maternal

Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In