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Storms or Cold Fronts? What is Really Responsible for the Extreme Waves Regime in the Colombian Caribbean Coast : Volume 3, Issue 5 (04/05/2015)

By Otero, L. J.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004019412
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 33
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Storms or Cold Fronts? What is Really Responsible for the Extreme Waves Regime in the Colombian Caribbean Coast : Volume 3, Issue 5 (04/05/2015)  
Author: Otero, L. J.
Volume: Vol. 3, Issue 5
Language: English
Subject: Science, Natural, Hazards
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Ortiz-Royero, J. C., Ruiz-Merchan, J. K., Otero, L. J., Henriquez, S. A., & Higgins, A. E. (2015). Storms or Cold Fronts? What is Really Responsible for the Extreme Waves Regime in the Colombian Caribbean Coast : Volume 3, Issue 5 (04/05/2015). Retrieved from

Description: Applied Physics Group – Ocean and Atmosphere Area – Physics Department, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia. On Friday, 7 March 2009, a 200 m-long section of the tourist pier in Puerto Colombia collapsed under the impact of the waves generated by a cold front in the area. The aim of this study is to determine the contribution and importance of cold fronts and storms on extreme waves in different areas of the Colombian Caribbean to determine the degree of the threat posed by the flood processes to which these coastal populations are exposed and the actions to which coastal engineering constructions should be subject. In the calculation of maritime constructions, the most important parameter is the wave's height; therefore, it is necessary to definitively know the design wave height to which a coastal engineering structure should be resistant. This wave height varies according to the return period considered. Using Gumbel's extreme value methodology, the significant height values for the study area were calculated. The methodology was evaluated using data from the re-analysis of the spectral NOAA Wavewatch III (WW3) model for 15 points along the 1600 km of the Colombia Caribbean coast (continental and insular) of the last 15 years. The results demonstrated that the extreme waves caused by tropical cyclones and cold fronts have different effects along the Colombian Caribbean coast. Storms and hurricanes are of greater importance in the Guajira Peninsula (Alta Guajira). In the central area formed by Baja Guajira, Santa Marta, Barranquilla, and Cartagena, the strong influence of cold fronts on extreme waves is evident. On the other hand, in the southern region of the Colombian Caribbean coast, from the Gulf of Morrosquillo to the Gulf of Urabá, even though extreme waves are lower than in the previous regions, extreme waves are dominated mainly by the passage of cold fronts. Extreme waves in the San Andrés and Providencia insular region present a different dynamic from that in the continental area due to its geographic location. The wave heights in the extreme regime are similar in magnitude to those found in Alta Guajira, but the extreme waves associated with the passage of cold fronts in this region have lower return periods than the extreme waves associated with hurricane season.

These results are of great importance when evaluating the threat of extreme waves in the coastal and port infrastructure, for purposes of the design of new constructions, and in the coastal flood processes due to run-up because, according to the site of interest in the coast, the forces that shape extreme waves are not the same.

Storms or cold fronts? What is really responsible for the extreme waves regime in the Colombian Caribbean coast

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