Wave runup on beaches

Wave runup is the elevation of the sea level produced by waves at the shoreline. It is an important component of coastal inundation and coastal erosion processes, especially during extreme conditions when it is combined to high tidal levels and large storm surges. 


Because of the coastal hazards implications, predicting runup has been a topic of great research interest and there are many formulas available in the literature. The main factors affecting runup values are certainly related to the processes occurring inside the surf zone. Wave dissipation and non-linear interactions lead to energy transfers that will have great influence on the observed runup level. Those processes are dependent on the incident wave energy but are also strongly affected by the nearshore bathymetry.  We are currently working to improve our understanding of the processes that trigger runup oscillations so we can improve  predictions.  

Several field and laboratory experiments have been carried out over the past decades, and many predictors have been developed. Here, we have compiled published data of runup, wave and beach parameters. Please use and let us know if more data is available. We would like the data to be available to the community and make it easy for people to use it. 


A very incomplete list of papers (in random order): 

  • Empirical parameterization of setup, swash, and runup, HF Stockdon, RA Holman, PA Howd, AH Sallenger Jr, Coastal engineering 53 (7), 573-588 
  • Passarella, M., Goldstein, E. B., Muro, S. D., & Coco, G. (2018). The use of genetic programming to develop a predictor of swash excursion on sandy beaches. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 18(2), 599-611. 
  • Gomes da Silva, P.; Medina, R.; Gonzalez, M.; Garnier, R. (2018)  Inragravity swash parameterization on beaches: the role of the profile shape and the morphodynamic beach state. Coastal Engineering. 123: 41-55. 
  • Senechal, N., Coco, G., Bryan, K. R., & Holman, R. A. (2011). Wave runup during extreme storm conditions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 116(C7). 

And some old good papers (for consistency, also this list is incomplete and in random order): 

  • Mase, H. (1989). Random wave runup height on gentle slope. Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering, 115(5), 649-661. 
  • Nielsen, P., & Hanslow, D. J. (1991). Wave runup distributions on natural beaches. Journal of Coastal Research, 1139-1152. 
  • Holman, R. A. (1986). Extreme value statistics for wave run-up on a natural beach. Coastal Engineering, 9(6), 527-544. 

Contact: Paula Gomes da Silva,


Please click here if you are interested in downloading the RunUp data