Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Computing, Engineering & Construction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. William R. Dally

Second Advisor

Dr. Don Resio

Third Advisor

Dr. Thobias Sando

Department Chair

Dr. Murat Tiryakioglu

College Dean

Dr. Mark A. Tumeo


The variability of the nearshore wave climate is investigated via the analysis of over 10 years of Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) data from a gauge deployed at Melbourne Beach, FL. Examples of large yearly variability in the significant wave height, peak period, mean direction and energy distribution are found in the data. Estimates of the averaged spectra for the entire record show that the average wave energy is distributed almost symmetrically with the peak being close to shore-normal. It was expected that the peak would be shifted towards the north of shore-normal considering net north to south longshore sediment transport at this location. Further analysis of the directional spectra partitioned into three directional windows reveals that waves from the southeast (avg. Hmo = 0.78 m) are less energetic than those from the northeast (avg. Hmo = 0.87 m), but they arrive from the south 53% more often.

Additionally, energy-based significant wave height (Hmo), peak period (Tp) and mean period (Tmean) distributions are studied and modeled with notable success.

Radiation stress (Sxy) estimates are computed using both rigorous integration as well as parameter-based approximations. These two estimates are correlated but the parameter-based approximation over predicts Sxy by 42%, because this method assigns all the wave energy into one direction (Ruessink et al., 2001).

Finally, it is shown by the Sxy total average that the net longshore forcing at this location is indeed north to south, but yearly and seasonal variability were quite high. The results indicate that short-term wave records may not provide accurate information for planning purposes. For example, if only 3 months of data were collected at this site, there would be a 33% chance that the mean longshore forcing would be erroneously directed from south to north.