Wave Life Cycle I: Generation

Wave Life Cycle I: Generation
This is the second in a series of training modules on marine wind and waves. The first module discussed wave types and characteristics and is a good primer to this next marine training topic. Wave Life Cycle I: Generation examines how wind creates waves and the inter-relationships between wind speed, wind duration, and fetch length during this process. These three factors are important to predicting wave height and what will limit wave growth. Additional topics include fully developed seas, observation sources, and various special wind events such as coastal jets and instability mixing in the marine boundary layer. While much of this instruction is at a basic level, all marine forecasters will find benefit in the more intermediate and advanced topics. These include the issue of dynamic or “trapped” fetch as well as the use of satellite-based observations of marine winds using the active microwave technique known as scatterometry. User interactions are included throughout the module and within the short case study. The next module in the series will look at propagation and dispersion as the waves leave the generation area.