Laboratory measurements of the drag coefficient over a fixed shoaling hurricane wave train

Brian C. Zachry, Chris W. Letchford, Delong Zuo, Andrew B. Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents results from a wind tunnel study that examined the drag coefficient and wind flow over an asymmetric wave train immersed in turbulent boundary layer flow. The modeled wavy surface consisted of eight replicas of a statistically-valid hurricane-generated wave, located near the coast in the shoaling wave region. For an aerodynamically rough model surface, the air flow remained attached and a pronounced speed-up region was evident over the wave crest. A wavelength-averaged drag coefficient was determined using the wind profile method, common to both field and laboratory settings. It was found that the drag coefficient was approximately 50% higher than values obtained in deep water hurricane conditions. This study suggests that nearshore wave drag is markedly higher than over deep water waves of similar size, and provides the groundwork for assessing the impact of nearshore wave conditions on storm surge modeling and coastal wind engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-211
Number of pages19
JournalWind and Structures, An International Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Drag coefficient
  • Log-law
  • Profile method
  • Shoaling wave
  • Wind stress


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