Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Wave thrust values at point locations along the shorelines of Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and Virginia

September 17, 2021

This product provides spatial variations in wave thrust along shorelines in the Chesapeake Bay. Natural features of relevance along the Bay coast are salt marshes. In recent times, marshes have been eroding primarily through lateral erosion. Wave thrust represents a metric of wave attack acting on marsh edges. The wave thrust is calculated as the vertical integral of the dynamic pressure of waves. This product uses a consistent methodology with sufficient spatial resolution to include the distinct features of each marsh system. Waves under different climatological wind forcing conditions were simulated using the coupled ADCIRC/SWAN model system. The estuarine and bay areas are resolved with horizontal resolutions of order hundreds of meters. The simulations provide the wave height, period, and direction needed to calculate wave thrust. We consider the frequency of occurrence of each wind magnitude and direction bin for each location to reconstruct a weighted-average wave thrust that considers coastal orientation with regard to dominant wave direction. The resulting wave thrust is then mapped along the shoreline of Chesapeake Bay to generate the present product.