National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1997

Analysis of subtidal coastal sea level fluctuations using wavelets

Percival, D.B., and H.O. Mofjeld

J. Am. Stat. Assoc., 92(439), 868–880, doi: 10.2307/2965551 (1997)

Subtidal coastal sea level fluctuations affect coastal ecosystems and the consequences of destructive events such as tsunamis. We analyze a time series of subtidal fluctuations at Crescent City, California, during 1980-1991 using the maximal overlap discrete wavelet transform (MODWT). Our analysis shows that the variability in these fluctuations depends on the season for scales of 32 days and less. We show how the MODWT characterizes nonstationary behavior succinctly and how this characterization can be used to improve forecasts of inundation during tsunamis and storm surges. We provide pseudocode and enough details so that data analysts in other disciplines can readily apply MODWT analysis to other nonstationary time series.

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