Relative Magnitude of Infragravity Waves at Coastal Dikes with Shallow Foreshores

A Prediction Tool

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Despite the widely recognized role of infragravity (IG) waves in many often-hazardous nearshore processes, spectral wave models, which exclude IG-wave dynamics, are often used in the design and assessment of coastal dikes. Consequently, the safety of these structures in environments where IG waves dominate remains uncertain. Here, we combine physical and numerical modeling to: (1) assess the influence of various offshore, foreshore, and dike slope conditions on the dominance of IG waves over those at sea and swell (SS) frequencies; and (2) develop a predictive model for the relative magnitude of IG waves, defined as the ratio of the IG-to-SS-wave height at the dike toe. Findings show that higher, directionally narrow-banded incident waves; shallower water depths; milder foreshore slopes; reduced vegetated cover; and milder dike slopes promote IG-wave dominance. In addition, the empirical model derived, which captures the combined effect of the varied environmental parameters, allows practitioners to quickly estimate the significance of IG waves at the coast, and may also be combined with spectral wave models to extend their applicability to areas where IG waves contribute significantly.