Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Empirical parameterization of setup, swash, and runup

January 1, 2006

Using shoreline water-level time series collected during 10 dynamically diverse field experiments, an empirical parameterization for extreme runup, defined by the 2% exceedence value, has been developed for use on natural beaches over a wide range of conditions. Runup, the height of discrete water-level maxima, depends on two dynamically different processes; time-averaged wave setup and total swash excursion, each of which is parameterized separately. Setup at the shoreline was best parameterized using a dimensional form of the more common Iribarren-based setup expression that includes foreshore beach slope, offshore wave height, and deep-water wavelength. Significant swash can be decomposed into the incident and infragravity frequency bands. Incident swash is also best parameterized using a dimensional form of the Iribarren-based expression. Infragravity swash is best modeled dimensionally using offshore wave height and wavelength and shows no statistically significant linear dependence on either foreshore or surf-zone slope. On infragravity-dominated dissipative beaches, the magnitudes of both setup and swash, modeling both incident and infragravity frequency components together, are dependent only on offshore wave height and wavelength. Statistics of predicted runup averaged over all sites indicate a - 17 cm bias and an rms error of 38 cm: the mean observed runup elevation for all experiments was 144 cm. On intermediate and reflective beaches with complex foreshore topography, the use of an alongshore-averaged beach slope in practical applications of the runup parameterization may result in a relative runup error equal to 51% of the fractional variability between the measured and the averaged slope.

Publication Year 2006
Title Empirical parameterization of setup, swash, and runup
DOI 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2005.12.005
Authors H.F. Stockdon, R.A. Holman, P.A. Howd, A. H. Sallenger
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Coastal Engineering
Index ID 70030520
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse