Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Papers

Influence of wind on extreme wave events: experimental and numerical approaches

C. KHARIFa1, J.-P. GIOVANANGELIa1, J. TOUBOULa1, L. GRAREa1 and E. PELINOVSKYa2

a1 Institut de Recherche sur les Phénomènes Hors Equilibre, Aix-Marseille University, France kharif@irphe.univ-mrs.fr

a2 Institute of Applied Physics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

Abstract

The influence of wind on extreme wave events in deep water is investigated experimentally and numerically. A series of experiments conducted in the Large Air–Sea Interactions Facility (LASIF-Marseille, France) shows that wind blowing over a short wave group due to the dispersive focusing of a longer frequency-modulated wavetrain (chirped wave packet) may increase the time duration of the extreme wave event by delaying the defocusing stage. A detailed analysis of the experimental results suggests that extreme wave events may be sustained longer by the air flow separation occurring on the leeward side of the steep crests. Furthermore it is found that the frequency downshifting observed during the formation of the extreme wave event is more important when the wind velocity is larger. These experiments have pointed out that the transfer of momentum and energy is strongly increased during extreme wave events.

Two series of numerical simulations have been performed using a pressure distribution over the steep crests given by the Jeffreys sheltering theory. The first series corresponding to the dispersive focusing confirms the experimental results. The second series which corresponds to extreme wave events due to modulational instability, shows that wind sustains steep waves which then evolve into breaking waves. Furthermore, it was shown numerically that during extreme wave events the wind-driven current could play a significant role in their persistence.

(Received October 09 2006)

(Revised August 28 2007)

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