Fetch-limited wave growth in Nootka Sound
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[author abstract] Ocean waves are generated at every coast line in the world. Wave generation and growth depends on wind. One hypothesis explored by this study is fetch-limited wave growth. Fetch is how far wind travels over a body of water, and the hypothesis states that the farther wind travels, the bigger waves will be. Big waves have potential for destruction, which has led many scientists to create models in an attempt to predict where, when and how big waves will be. The other goal of this study was to test the accuracy of a well-known wave predicting model used by coastal engineers. Data was gathered in a fjord called Nootka Sound using microSWIFT buoys to measure and analyze wave spectrum. The data was analyzed and fit to the Coastal Engineering Manual’s (CEM) model for wave growth. The results supported the hypothesis as larger fetch produced bigger waves. Comparing the observational data with the wave model suggested that the model was accurate for the wind conditions we were in, despite some disagreement.