Diffusion reduction in an arbitrary scale third generation wind wave model Academic Article uri icon


  • The numerical schemes for the geographic propagation of random, short-crested, wind-generated waves in third-generation wave models are either unconditionally stable or only conditionally stable. Having an unconditionally stable scheme gives greater freedom in choosing the time step (for given space steps). The third-generation wave model SWAN ("Simulated WAves Nearshore", Booij et al., 1999) has been implemented with this type of scheme. This model uses a first order, upwind, implicit numerical scheme for geographic propagation. The scheme can be employed for both stationary (typically small scale) and nonstationary (i.e. time-stepping) computations. Through robust, this first order scheme is very diffusive. This degrades the accuracy of the model in a number of situations, including most model applications at larger scales. The authors reduce the diffusiveness of the model by replacing the existing numerical scheme with two alternative higher order schemes, a scheme that is intended for stationary, small-scale computations, and a scheme that is most appropriate for nonstationary computations. Examples representative of both large-scale and small-scale applications are presented. The alternative schemes are shown to be much less diffusive than the original scheme while retaining the implicit character of the particular SWAN set-up. The additional computational burden of the stationary alternative scheme is negligible, and the expense of the nonstationary alternative scheme is comparable to those used by other third generation wave models. To further accommodate large-scale applications of SWAN, the model is reformulated in terms of spherical coordinates rather than the original Cartesian coordinates. Thus the modified model can calculate wave energy propagation accurately and efficiently at any scale varying from laboratory dimensions (spatial scale O(10 m) with resolution O(0.1 m)), to near-shore coastal dimension (spatial scale O(10 km) with resolution O(100 m)) to oceanic dimensions (spatial scale O(10 000 km) with resolution O(100 km). © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rogers, W. E., Kaihatu, J. M., Petit, H., Booij, N., & Holthuijsen, L. H.

citation count

  • 46

publication date

  • September 2002