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Forecasting Wave Height

Lakes and Reservoirs

D. A. Molitor, in his paper, Wave Pressure on Sea-walls and Breakwaters, published in the Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers (May, 1934), gives the following formulas for determining wave height for inland lakes based on the formulas of Thomas Stevenson (1864) with the introducton of wind velocity as a variable and the use of statute miles instead of nautical miles:

It is also used by the USBR.

Ocean Waves

Zuider Zee

Wind setup (ft) may be computed by

U = wind velocity, mph
F = fetch, miles
D = average depth of water, ft
A = angle between direction of waves and normal to face of dam


Davis, Sorensen, Handbook of Applied Hydraulics, 1969

Gaillard, D. D., Wave Action in Relation to Engineering Structures, c. 1904

Quinn, A. D., Design and Construction of Ports and Marine Structures, 1961

Ocean Waves

Senturk, F., Hydraulics of Dams and Reservoirs, 1994