Movie:Wave height in vegetated Wax Lake during Rita

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Information Page: Wave height in vegetated Wax Lake during Rita

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Wave height in Wax lake delta with vegetation, Rita

Key Attributes

Domain: coastal
Keywords: vegetation, significant wave height
Model name: Delft3D
Name: Fei, Xing
Where: Wax Lake delta, Atachafalaya Bay, Louisiana
When: Sept 18-29th 2005

Short Description

Grade level: Under graduate (13-16), Graduate / Professional

Statement: wave heights in Wax lake delta with vegetation during hurricane Rita

Abstract: Hurricane Rita was an intense tropical cyclone, which occurred in September 2005, a few weeks after hurricane Katrina. It was a really intense event, with high sustained winds (upto 38 m/s) and waves in the Gulf of Mexico were observed to be over 6 m high. The hurricane made landfall in Texas on September 24th, directly west of the area shown in this simulation.

This animation shows results of a Delft3D simulation to study the effects of Hurricane Rita on the Wax Lake delta in Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana (USA). The model domain is 25 by 30km. We are showing a set of parameters of this hurricane event to compare the significant wave height (this animation), the water level and the erosion and deposition in the delta (other animations in the EKT repository).

This simulation explores the effect of vegetation on the islands in the delta. In the accompanying simulation vegetation was ignored, for this particular run vegetation is introduced as a roughness coefficient (vegetation is modeled based on 'cylinders' present in the flowing water). The wave height in the Wax lake delta is rather low under normal conditions as you can see in the beginning of the animation. At high tide, wave heights may be a few 10's of cm's. On September 24th 2005 hurricane Rita approaches and sets down the water, wave heights are then still low. But when the hurricane makes landfall closeby, the delta is inundated by 2-3 m of water and waves become as high as 1.5m. Note that the waves are highest in the main channels of the delta (because the water is deeper there). You can see the effect of vegetation is small, the waves on the islands are only dampened slightly. The effect of vegetation is not as important for waves during a hurricane as it is during some more moderate storms.


the definition of 'significant wave height' is as follows: the significant wave height (often annotated as Hs) is defined as the mean wave height (the distance from wave trough to wave crest) of the highest third of the waves.



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