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Thread: DPD Dominant Wave Period

  1. #1

    Default DPD Dominant Wave Period

    Can someone explain to me in layman's terms what this means? I read the definition on Noaa's website and I'm more confused than ever. I thought it was the time period between waves.

  2. #2
    Member bkmail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Palmer, AK.


    Its the most energetic wave in the spectrum.

  3. #3
    Member fatbacks's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default A surfers perspective

    Check this basic definition:

    Basically the dominant period is the time in seconds between wave peaks if you are at stationary point. Most of the time there are various swells in the ocean coming from different storms. The further away the longer the period.

    Basic scenario: Storm passes 500 miles south of Seward and when the waves reach the area they are 6 ft tall and have a period of 14 seconds. Locally it is blowing 20 kts and forming a wind swell of 3 ft at 6 seconds. The dominant period is going to be the 14 second period with the secondary swell of 6 seconds.

    Like bkmail said, the longer the period, the more power in the wave. This becomes abundantly clear when the waves break on shore. This is why North Shore in Hawaii is so good in the winter. The storms originate along the Aleutian Islands with 30 ft waves at lower periods such as 14 seconds. As the waves travel to Hawaii, the swell mellows out to 14 ft or so but the period increases to close to 20 seconds. This creates massive breaking waves close to shore.

    Clear as mud???

    Check this out... explains the anatomy of a swell by tracking the storm and then the results of this storm thousands of miles away. They probably do a better job of explaining:


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