Research Papers

The New Year Wave: Spatial Evolution of an Extreme Sea State

[+] Author and Article Information
Günther F. Clauss

Ocean Engineering Division, Technical University Berlin, Salzufer 17-19, 10587 Berlin, Germany

Marco Klein1

Ocean Engineering Division, Technical University Berlin, Salzufer 17-19, 10587 Berlin, Germanyklein@naoe.tu-berlin.de


Corresponding author.

J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng 131(4), 041001 (Oct 01, 2009) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3160533 History: Received October 06, 2008; Revised May 07, 2009; Published October 01, 2009

In the past years the existence of freak waves has been affirmed by observations, registrations, and severe accidents. Many publications investigated the occurrence of extreme waves, their characteristics and their impact on offshore structures, but their formation process is still under discussion. One of the famous real world registrations is the so called “New Year wave,” recorded in the North Sea at the Draupner jacket platform on January 1st, 1995. Since there is only a single point registration available, it is not possible to draw conclusions on the spatial development in front of and behind the point of registration, which is indispensable for a complete understanding of this phenomenon. This paper presents the spatial development of the New Year wave generated in a model basin. To transfer the recorded New Year wave into the wave tank, an optimization approach for the experimental generation of wave sequences with predefined characteristics is applied. The extreme sea state obtained with this method is measured at different locations in the tank, in a range from 2163 m (full scale) ahead of to 1470 m behind the target position—520 registrations altogether. The focus lies on the detailed description of a possible evolution of the New Year wave over a large area and time interval. It is observed that the extreme wave at the target position develops mainly from a wave group of three smaller waves. The group velocity, wave propagation, and the energy flux of this wave group are analyzed, in particular.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Waves , Seas , Velocity
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Figure 1

Comparison of measured model wave train at target position (scale of 1:70) and the sequence recorded at the Draupner platform (all data full scale)

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Figure 2

Schematic sketch of the experimental setup

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Figure 3

Spatial development of the extreme sea state for selected time steps (full scale)

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Figure 4

Progress of the wave heights along the wave tank and velocity-dependent development of the wave crests in time and space

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Figure 5

Progress of the centroid of the mean energy distribution E¯ for registrations at each location

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Figure 6

Energy envelope for the wave group at different locations in the tank

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Figure 7

Comparison of the wave spectra of the New Year wave and the model wave sequences at different locations (the locations of occurrence of the three freak waves)

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Figure 8

Crest front steepness of the three waves as defined by Kjeldsen (42) (upper three diagrams). Snapshots of the target wave for different time steps (bottom).



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