Field measurements of extreme coastal waves on intertidal platforms using pressure sensors - Issues and Advances

Pal Schmitt, Ronadh Cox, Frederic Dias, Louise O'Boyle, Trevor Whittaker

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Recent research has shown that interaction with bathymetry can lead to wave height amplification of up to a factor of 12. These extreme waves are important for coastal erosion and very large boulder movement but long-term field records in such high-energy conditions are challenging to acquire, and very scarce. Over three winters (2016-2019) we deployed custom-built pressure sensors in the intertidal zone at three locations, varying from a near vertical cliff to a flat bedrock platform, on the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. Reconstruction of surface elevation from pressure sensor measurements in shallow water is difficult. Hydrostatic pressure assumptions do not return
accurate wave heights and even recently published nonlinear corrections are sensitive to filtering and do not cover the case of partially or fully breaking waves. Solving these problems is vital for understanding the interplay between high-energy waves and rocky coastlines. We present attempts to apply surface reconstruction methods to field data and numerical simulation results to assess the accuracy. Results highlight the need for independent validation and alternative measurement techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 02 Mar 2019
Event62nd Irish Geological Research Meeting - UCD, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 01 Mar 201903 Mar 2019
Conference number: 62


Conference62nd Irish Geological Research Meeting
Abbreviated titleIGRM2019
Internet address


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