Comparison of a spectral wave model with a fully nonlinear potential flow wave model

Bárður Joensen, Harry Bingham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study evaluates the performance of the MIKE 21 Spectral Wave (SW) model by comparing the evolution of the spectrum with the fully nonlinear potential flow model OceanWave3D. We test only the shoaling, nonlinear wave–wave interaction and whitecapping terms by considering a two-dimensional shoaling problem on a mild slope bottom without wind, or bottom friction effects and before reaching the breaking zone at the beach. A JONSWAP spectrum is introduced at the deep-water boundary and allowed to propagate freely up to a relatively shallow shelf. The peak wave is in relative water depth at the deep water boundary where is the wave number, the wavelength and the water depth. For the peak relative water depth greater than about , the spectrum agrees well with the fully nonlinear results, but below this value significant differences appear. In particular, the long-wave difference frequency effects are mostly absent, indicating a need for improvement in the SW triad interaction model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115842
Number of pages10
JournalOcean Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Numerical modelling
  • Ocean waves
  • Spectral wave model
  • Fully-nonlinear potential flow model


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