Application of empirical wave run-up formulas to the Polish Baltic Sea coast

PLoS One. 2014 Aug 19;9(8):e105437. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0105437. eCollection 2014.


Advanced, multidimensional models are typically applied when researching processes occurring in the nearshore. Relatively simple, empirical equations are commonly used in coastal engineering practice in order to estimate extreme wave run-up on beaches and coastal structures. However, they were mostly calibrated to the characteristics of oceanic coasts, which have different wave regime than a semi-enclosed basin like the Baltic Sea. In this paper we apply the formulas to the Polish Baltic Sea coast. The equations were adjusted to match local conditions in two test sites in Międzyzdroje and Dziwnówek, where beaches are under continuous video surveillance. Data from WAM wave model and coastal gauge stations were used, as well as precise measurements of the beaches' cross-sections. More than 600 run-up events spanning from June to December 2013 were analysed, including surges causing dune erosion. Extreme wave run-up R2% was calculated and presented as a percentage value indicating what part of the beach was inundated. The method had a root-mean-square error of 6.1 and 6.5 percentage points depending on the test site. We consider it is a fast and computationally undemanding alternative to morphodynamic models. It will constitute a part of the SatBałtyk Operating System-Shores, delivering forecasts of wave run-up on the beaches for the entire Polish coastline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Baltic States
  • Bathing Beaches*
  • Environment
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Geologic Sediments
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Seawater / analysis*
  • Water Movements*

Grant support

This work was supported by the European Union through the Innovative Economy Operational Programme - project No. POIG.01.01.02-22-011/09-00 “The Satellite Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Environment (SatBałtyk)”. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.