Lab 6.3 – Wave Dynamics

Estimated time to complete: 30 minutes
Materials needed: calculator

Wave height and peak wave period


  1. What is the peak wave period that corresponds to the peak wave height?
  2. If locally generated waves (sea) generally have a period of 7 seconds or less, why do you think the period increases with the wave height?
  3. The waves measured during this time period classify as deep-water waves meaning the waves do not ‘feel’ the bottom because the water depth is more than twice the wavelength. Using the following equation, calculate the wavelength (L) that corresponds to the time period of peak wave height: L = gT2/2π, where g=9.8 m/s2 and T is wave period in seconds.
  4. Calculate how fast these waves are traveling at this location. [Remember, speed = wavelength/wave period]

Reflection Questions

  1. Describe the relationship between local wind speed and wave height.
  2. Explain the difference between sea and swell.