Analysis of Dangerous Sea States in the Northwestern Mediterranean Area
Analysis of Dangerous Sea States in the Northwestern Mediterranean Area
Year Type  
2021 ISI Publication  

Autori: Alessio Innocenti, Miguel Onorato, Carlo Brandini
Rivista: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 2021, 9, 422. 




Extreme sea waves, although rare, can be notably dangerous when associated with energetic sea states and can generate risks for the navigation. In the last few years, they have been the object of extensive research from the scientific community that helped with understanding the main physical aspects; however, the estimate of extreme waves probability in operational forecasts is still debated. In this study, we analyzed a number of sea-states that occurred in a precise area of the Mediterranean sea, near the location of a reported accident, with the objective of relating the probability of extreme events with different sea state conditions. For this purpose, we performed phase-resolving simulations of wave spectra obtained from a WaveWatch III hindcast, using a Higher Order Spectral Method. We produced statistics of the sea-surface elevation field, calculating crest distributions and the probability of extreme events from the analysis of a long time-series of the surface elevation. We found a good matching between the distributions of the numerically simulated field and theory, namely Tayfun second- and third- order ones, in contrast with a significant underestimate given by the Rayleigh distribution. We then related spectral quantities like angular spreading and wave steepness to the probability of occurrence of extreme events finding an enhanced probability for high mean steepness seas and narrow spectra, in accordance with literature results, finding also that the case study of the reported accident was not amongst the most dangerous. Finally, we related the skewness and kurtosis of the surface elevation to the wave steepness to explain the discrepancy between theoretical and numerical distributions.