Experiences with SWASH on modelling wave propagation over vegetation: Comparisons with lab and field data

Rui Almeida Reis, António A. Pires-Silva, Conceição Juana Fortes, Tomohiro Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


The vegetation capacity to protect the coasts from wave action is becoming more important and attractive due to ongoing sea level rise and increasing storminess. In addition, it is a quite environmentally friendly way. Quantifying the vegetation effect in wave propagation will be relevant for coastal management. A non-hydrostatic wave model based on the nonlinear shallow water equations, SWASH, offers opportunities to quantify the wave dissipation effect in vegetation fields. However, limited applications of SWASH addressing this subject can be found in the literature and therefore it is important to enhance the existing knowledge on the model behaviour. In this research, in order to understand the characteristics of the SWASH model further, the model is applied to reproduce the significant wave height (Hs) evolution over vegetation fields measured in flume experiments and in field campaign. Overall, SWASH performed very well in reproducing the Hs evolution measured both in the laboratory and in the field. In the case of flume data, the statistical scores MBE, RMSE and MRE, showed that the SWASH performance clearly improved when increasing the number of vertical layers assumed in the simulations. In the case of field data, considering a vegetation factor (Vf ) between 0.1 and 0.5, that represents the overall effect of scarcely known numerical vegetation parameters, led to a fairly good SWASH performance in modelling the Hs evolution over vegetation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Model-data comparisons
  • SWASH model
  • Vegetation
  • Wave dissipation
  • Wave propagation

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