Waves for Coastal Design in the United States


  • J. Michael Hemsley
  • Rebecca M. Brooks


Wave data, wave gaging, hindcasting


Information on waves is critical to the designers of coastal projects. Unfortunately, data are usually sparse. This dichotomy was recognized and addressed in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CE) when the Coastal Field Data Collection Program (CFDCP) was created in 1977. This national data collection program is intended to provide the information designers require through two efforts, the Field Wave Gaging Program (FWGP) and Wave Information Studies (WIS). These efforts, through wave measurement and hindcasting, respectively, aid the designer through increasing the available data base. Because of the nature of hindcasting, the WIS data base has been developed much more quickly than that of the FWGP. In addition to the FWGP and WIS, the CFDCP funds efforts to acquire oceanographic and meteorological data during episodic events, such as northeasters and tsunamis; measure damage to coastal structures and projects and the alteration of coastal areas; conduct Littoral Environmental Observations (LEO) in areas of interest; and develop a data base management system for the archiving of coastal data that have been and continue to be collected. The CFDCP, therefore, provides the mechanism through which valuable coastal data are collected, analyzed, distributed, and archived.

Author Biographies

J. Michael Hemsley

Rebecca M. Brooks