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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Jun 2019

Research article | 19 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

The wave spectrum in archipelagos

Jan-Victor Björkqvist, Heidi Pettersson, and Kimmo K. Kahma Jan-Victor Björkqvist et al.
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. Sea surface waves are important for marine safety and coastal constructions, but mapping the wave properties at complex shorelines, such as coastal archipelagos, is challenging. The wave spectrum, E(f), contains a majority of the information about the wave field, and its properties have been studied for decades. Nevertheless, any systematic research into the wave spectrum in archipelagos has not been made. In this paper we present wave buoy measurements from 14 locations in the Finnish archipelago. The shape of the wave spectrum showed a systematic transition from a single peaked spectrum, to a spectrum with a wide frequency range having almost constant energy. The exact shape also depended on the wind direction, since the fetch, island, and bottom conditions are not isotropic. The deviation from the traditional spectral form is strong enough to have a measurable effect on the definitions of the significant wave height. The relation between the two definitions in the middle of the archipelago was H1/3 = 0.881 Hs, but the ratio varied with the spectral width (Hs was defined using the variance). At this same location the average value of the single highest wave, Hmax/Hs, was only 1.58. A wider archipelago spectrum was also associated with lower confidence limits for the significant wave height compared to the open sea (6 % vs. 9 %). The challenges regarding the instability of the peak frequency and the difficulties in finding a good characteristic frequency for an archipelago spectrum is discussed. The mean frequency, weighted with E(f)4, is proposed as a compromise between stability, and bias with respect to the peak frequency.

Jan-Victor Björkqvist et al.
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Jan-Victor Björkqvist et al.
Jan-Victor Björkqvist et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
In this paper we present wave buoy measurements from the Finnish archipelago. The properties of the waves inside the archipelago differed from waves in the open sea because of the sheltering effect of the islands. In the archipelago the highest single wave was, on average, only 1.58 times the significant wave height, which is lower than what is predicted by previous research. A more robust way to calculate the wave frequency in the complex archipelago conditions was proposed.
In this paper we present wave buoy measurements from the Finnish archipelago. The properties of...