We present a study of the physical characteristics of traveling waves at shallow and intermediate water depths. The main subject of study is to the influence of nonlinearity on the dispersion properties of waves, their limiting heights and steepness, the shape of solitary waves, etc. A fully nonlinear Serre–Green–Naghdi-type model, a classical weakly nonlinear Boussinesq model and fifth-order Stokes wave solutions were chosen as models for comparison. The analysis showed significant, if not critical, differences in the effect of nonlinearity on the properties of traveling waves for these models. A comparison with experiments was carried out on the basis of the results of a joint Russian–Taiwanese experiment, which was carried out in 2015 at the Tainan Hydraulic Laboratory, and on available experimental data. A comparison with the experimental results confirms the applicability of a completely nonlinear model for calculating traveling waves over the entire range of applicability of the model in contrast to the Boussinesq model, which shows contradictory and unrealistic wave properties for moderate wavelengths.
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