Ocean swells are created by winds blowing over the ocean surface. Ripples slowly form and start to move with the wind. They congregate and form little white caps, which join together to create ocean swells. These swells travel huge distances until the reach the coastlines of the world. As the ocean swells arrive at these coastlines, they shoal, refract, break and change their form.
In conjunction with The Center for Water and The Environment, and Queens University, Bryson Robertson will be conducting a high level research study into these transformations.
Conducted at numerous remote locations worldwide, Queens and Robertson hope to gain added insight into the factors that effect wave breaking shape, form and intensity.
This study aims to accurately map the sea floor/bathymetry at each of these locations, to study the breakers which peel along there reefs and development a method to predict their breaking characteristics. Documenting a variety of wave periods, amplitudes, velocities and directional data, combined with high resolution photographs of the wave at each significant bathymetrical feature, the study aims to discover a high level understanding of the interrelationships between these wave characteristics.
All this information will be used to discover an easily used quantitative relationship explaining the effect of all of these factors to create the final wave shape, intensity and breaking pattern.
With the increased occurrence of extreme weather events, tsunamis and coastal development it is paramount to be able to accurately model the effects of waves on beaches, reefs and coastal structures. Knowledge and understanding of coastal processes are the first step in being able to predict and preserve our oceans.