Fredric Raichlen, an expert on coastal engineering and wave mechanics, is Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus at Caltech.
In "Waves", the author traces the evolution of waves, from their generation in the deep ocean to their effects on the coast.
Raichlen explains, in a way that is readily understandable to nonscientists, both the science of waves themselves and the technology that can be used to protect us against their more extreme forms, including hurricanes and tsunamis.
After offering a basic definition of waves and explaining the mechanics of wind-wave generation, Raichlen describes how waves travel, how they shoal (rise), how they break, and how they transform in other ways.
He goes on to describe, among other things, the complicated sun-Earth-moon combinations that create astronomical tides (the high and low tides that occur daily and predictably); the effects of waves on the beach, including rip currents and beach erosion, and on harbors and shipping; and the building of breakwaters to protect harbors and bays.
He discusses hurricanes, storm surges, and hurricane-generated waves. He offers a brief history of tsunamis, including Sumatra's in 2004 and Japan's in 2011, and explains the mechanisms that generate them (including earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes).