Wave Exposure Model

Understanding the hydrodynamics of the coast, especially the waves associated with storms, is essential to managing the fragile coastal environment. The Wave Exposure Model (WEMo) is a free and easy-to-use tool that helps coastal managers, ecologists, and physical hydrologists alike by estimating wave energy and its effects on ecosystem functions, as well as on developed coastal and inland-water areas.


  • Forecasts and "hindcasts" wind wave energy and the movement of seafloor sediment in enclosed water bodies such as lakes, coastal bays, and estuaries
  • Provides a foundation for studying or modeling restoration efforts, seafloor and shoreline erosion, and the tolerance limits of habitats
  • Works well with standard data formats and factors such as shoreline erosion, fauna, and landscape patterns
  • Guides the classification of wave data into wave energy patterns useful for choosing sampling regimes
  • Adjusts to wind events that are chronic, extreme, or combined with storm surge
  • Adapts for use by non-specialists in hydrodynamics
  • Requires basic knowledge of geographic information systems

Technical Specifications

Minimum Hardware Requirements

  • 1 GHz (1.5 GHz or above recommended)
  • 512 MB RAM (512 MB or above recommended)
  • 1 GB disk space required to install and effectively run the application

Software Requirements

  • ArcView 9.2 and 9.3 network or single-user license
  • ArcInfo or ArcEditor license required for creating some data sets
  • Operates in Windows XP and Vista environments

Data Requirements

Stories from the Field

Forecasting Waves Associated with Hurricane Landfall in North Carolina
WEMo was used to hindcast wind wave energy distribution during Hurricane Isabel.

Linking Salt Marsh Distribution to Wind Wave Energy in North Carolina
WEMo helped reveal the link between marsh distribution and wave energy generated by extreme winds.


Wave Exposure Model (WEMo) Manual

Wave Exposure Model (WEMo) Frequently Asked Questions

WEMo Technical Memo: Formulation, Procedures, and Validation
Details the working of the model in two modes—Representative Wave Energy and Relative Exposure Index—and validates the model against the observation data collected near Harkers Island, North Carolina.

Get It Now

Wave Exposure Model (WEMo), version 4.0

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By using this software tool, you indicate your awareness of and consent to the following terms and conditions of use:
Information provided from this software tool is NOT intended to be used for decisions involving human safety and welfare risks. The developers of this program—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—assume no responsibility and cannot be held liable for any end use of this software. For your own protection, please label all outputs with "NOT FOR USE INVOLVING HUMAN SAFETY AND WELFARE."