The generation and growth of waves in deep water is controlled by winds blowing over the
sea surface. In fully developed sea states, where winds and waves are in equilibrium, wave parameters
may be calculated directly from the wind velocity. We provide an Excel spreadsheet to compute the
wave period, length, height and celerity, as well as horizontal and vertical particle velocities for any
water depth, bottom slope and distance below the reference water level. The wave profile and
propagation can also be visualized for any water depth, modeling the sea surface change from
sinusoidal to trochoidal and finally cnoidal profiles into shallow water. Bedload entrainment is
estimated under the wave crest and trough, respectively, using the horizontal water particle velocity at
the top of the boundary layer.
The calculations are programmed in an Excel file called WAVECALC, which is available
online to authorized users. Although many of the recently published formulas are based on theoretical
arguments, the values agree well with several existing theories and limited field and laboratory
observations. WAVECALC is a user-friendly program intended for sedimentologists, coastal engineers and oceanographers, as well as marine ecologists and biologists. It provides a rapid means
to calculate many wave characteristics required in coastal and shallow marine studies and can also
serve as an educational tool.