Prediction of Rip Currents

Principal Investigator:

Robert A. Dalrymple

Start/End Year:

2005 - 2008


Johns Hopkins University



OBJECTIVES: To develop a simple methodology for prediction of rip currents, based on theories, numerical modeling, and field observation. This methodology would be used to predict hazardous conditions at the shoreline.

METHODOLOGY: Review and verify existing theories using a numerical Boussinesq wave model. Install a beach monitoring system at Ocean City to observe rip current conditions. Work with lifeguards to gather data and test the methodology.

RATIONALE: Rip currents are one of the most deadly of natural hazards and account for most of the rescues by lifeguards. By providing a simple theory-based methodology to predict the likelihood of these currents, people can be warned and lives saved.

Related Publications:

Dalrymple, Robert A., Jamie H. MacMahan, Ad J.H.M. Reniers, and Varjola Nelko.. 2011. Rip currents. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics43:551 -581. doi:10.1146/annurev-fluid-122109-160733. UM-SG-RS-2011-09.

Varjola, N; Dalrymple, RA. 2011. Rip current prediction at Ocean City, Maryland. Leatherman, S; Fletemeyer, J, eds. Rip Currents: Beach Safety, Physical Oceanography, and Wave Modeling. CRC Press: Taylor & Francis Group.Chapter 3:45 -57. UM-SG-RS-2011-08.

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