Effect of sampling rate on wave height statistics

Paul Stansell, Julian Wolfram, Brian Linfoot

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper examines the effects of digital processing, and therefore discretisation or sampling, of sea surface elevations that are, in reality, continuous. Using random linear wave theory, probability distributions for the measured (as opposed to actual) wave amplitudes and heights have been obtained which are conditional on the sampling rate. It is shown that with low sampling rates there are significant departures from the usual Rayleigh distribution. Rates of 1 Hz or less may lead to significant underestimation of the probability of very large waves. An analysis of full-scale measurements obtained from a platform in the North Sea supports these results. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1023-1047
    Number of pages25
    JournalOcean Engineering
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2002


    • Extreme value distribution
    • Joint height-period distribution
    • Marginal distribution
    • Rayleigh distribution
    • Wave amplitude
    • Wave height
    • Wave measurement discrete sampling
    • Wave statistics


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