Start Year

01 September 2019

End Year

31 August 2024

Research Partners


Principal Investigators

Professor Frederic Dias

Research Area

Offshore Renewable Energy 




HIGHWAVE covers simultaneously past, present, and future energetic ocean waves. The project research, associated with sustainable environmental science and technology, will help future generations to improve environmental practice. HIGHWAVE is a cutting edge mathematical project that uses real-time raw data harvested in situ by the project team to develop new models and new algorithms. These new models will provide information about air and water exchange in oceanic environments, boulder deposits, erosion, and structural damage.


Wave breaking is not just a fascinating scientific topic, it is also an interdisciplinary topic of considerable relevance in transfers between the atmosphere and oceans of substantial economic importance. Why do waves break? How do they dissipate energy and why is this important? A central element of the work builds on recent international developments in the field of wave breaking and wave run-up.

Wave breaking represents a key physical process that affects the evolution of ocean waves and the interaction between the overlying atmosphere and the underlying ocean.

Breaking waves entrain air to form surface whitecaps and sub-surface bubble clouds that enhance air-sea transfer of poorly soluble gases such as carbon dioxide and generate tiny aerosol particles that help to form clouds.

The objectives of the project are primarily to develop an innovative approach to include accurate wave breaking physics into coupled sea state and ocean weather forecasting models, but also to obtain improved criteria for the design of ships and coastal/offshore infrastructure; to quantify erosion by powerful breaking waves, and finally to develop new concepts in wave measurement with an improved characterisation of wave breaking using real-time instrumentation.