© European Geosciences Union 2004
Using wavelet spectrum analysis to resolve breaking events in the wind wave time series
1NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105, USA
2Swinburne University of Technology, School of Engineering and Science, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122, Australia
Abstract. This paper presents the development of a new approach, based on wavelet spectrum analysis, for the detection of breaking waves in a time series of surface wave fluctuations. The approach is shown to be capable of producing equivalent wave breaking statistics as field measurements based on detection of whitecaps at a fixed point of observation. This wavelet-based approach is applicable to both deep water and finite depth environments. Based on applications of this approach to the analysis of available field data, a novel classification of wave breaking processes that consists of incipient, developing, and subsiding phases is proposed.