Distributions of nonlinear wave amplitudes and heights from laboratory generated following and crossing bimodal seas
Abstract. This paper presents an analysis of the distributions of nonlinear crests, troughs and heights of deep water waves from mixed following sea states generated mechanically in an offshore basin and compares with previous results for mixed crossing seas from the same experiment. The random signals at the wavemaker in both types of mixed seas are characterized by bimodal spectra following the model of Guedes Soares (1984). In agreement with the Benjamin–Feir mechanism, the high-frequency spectrum shows a decrease in the peak magnitude and downshift of the peak with the distance, as well as reduction of the tail. The observed statistics and probabilistic distributions exhibit, in general, increasing effects of third-order nonlinearity with the distance from the wavemaker. However, this effect is less pronounced in the wave systems with two following wave trains than in the crossing seas, given that they have identical initial characteristics of the bimodal spectra. The relevance of third-order effects due to free modes only is demonstrated and assessed by excluding the vertically asymmetric distortions induced by bound wave effects of second and third order. The fact that for records characterized by relatively large coefficient of kurtosis, the empirical distributions for the non-skewed profiles continue deviating from the linear predictions, corroborate the relevance of free wave interactions and thus the need of using higher-order models for the description of wave data.