A new average wave overtopping prediction formula with improved accuracy for smooth steep low-crested structures

David Gallach-Sánchez, Peter Troch, Andreas Kortenhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wave overtopping is a key process in coastal protection and its assessment defines the design of the sea defence structures. An existing knowledge gap in wave overtopping prediction is identified for steep low-crested structures, i.e., structures with steep slopes up to the limit case of vertical structures, with small relative freeboards down to the limit case of zero freeboards. This type of structure is increasingly relevant in a sea level rise context due to climate change. Additionally, steep low-crested structures are also of interest when used as overtopping wave energy converters. To cover the identified knowledge gap, more than 900 2D hydraulic model tests have been performed in the wave flume of the Department of Civil Engineering at Ghent University. Wave conditions and the overtopping performance have been measured. After analysing the average overtopping rates of the new tests, we found that there is a lack of accuracy of the recommended EurOtop 2018 manual overtopping prediction formulae for steep low-crested structures. Based on the new tests, a new average overtopping prediction formula for steep low-crested structures is obtained. This formula improves the prediction accuracy of the average overtopping rates for steep low-crested structures with respect to the recommended predictions in the EurOtop 2018 manual by reducing the RMSE by 35% for zero freeboards, by 16% for very small relative freeboards, by 31% for very steep slopes and by 24% for vertical structures. The accuracy of the EurOtop 2018 manual predictions for other structural types is maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103800
JournalCoastal Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Coastal structures
  • Physical modelling
  • Prediction formula
  • Steep low-crested structures
  • Wave overtopping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering


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