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Uri Itay
Dan Liberzon


An experimental study was conducted with the aim of validating the Lagrangian kinematic criterion (LKC) for the case of breaking of shoaling waves. Monochromatic wave trains were generated in a large wave flume and allowed to shoal and break naturally on an artificial inclination changeable shore, thus allowing inspection of a range of slopes. Instantaneous horizontal Lagrangian water surface velocity was measured by particle tracking velocimetry and compared to the instantaneous propagation speed of the crest on a verge of breaking, the latter calculated using time series produced by resistance-type wave gauges staged along the flume. The inception of a breaker was found to occur when the monotonically increasing horizontal water velocity on the crest, during the process of steepening, approached that of the slowing steep crest, thus confirming the LKC for shoaling conditions. In addition, an objective method of breaking detection was developed utilizing the phase–time method and wavelet analysis by recognizing a specific pattern in the instantaneous local frequency fluctuations. The two main expected contributions of this study are the formation of an applicable criterion for breaking occurrences in shoaling waves and development of a wave breaking detection method independent of human decision. Incorporation of the suggested criterion into existing waves prediction models can be a significant contribution to maritime projects efficiency, whereas the breakers detection method will be useful for conducting further experimental research on waves breaking both in laboratory installations and in the highly unstable environment of an open sea.

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Dan Liberzon
Alexandru Vreme
Sagi Knobler
, and
Itamar Bentwich


We report the development of a new method for accurate detection of breaking water waves that addresses the need for an accurate and cost-effective method that is independent of human decisions. The new detection method, which enables the detection of breakers using only surface elevation fluctuation measurements from a single wave gauge, supports the development of a new method for research relating to water waves and wind–wave interactions. According to the proposed method, detection is based on the use of the phase-time method to identify breaking-associated patterns in the instantaneous frequency variations of surface elevation fluctuations. A wavelet-based pattern recognition algorithm is devised to detect such patterns and provide accurate detection of breakers in the examined records. Validation and performance tests, conducted using both laboratory and open-sea data, including mechanically generated and wind-forced waves, are reported as well. These tests allow us to derive a set of parameters that assure high detection accuracy rates. The method is shown to be capable to achieve a positive detection rate exceeding 90%.

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