Abstract: Progression of nonlinear wave groups to breaking was studied numerically and experimentally. Evolution
of such wave group parameters as a function of distance to breaking and modulation depth—the height ratio
of the highest and the lowest waves in the group—was described. Numerical model results demonstrated
good agreement with experimental results in describing the behavior of the distance to breaking and
modulation depth as functions of initial wave steepness. It was shown that energy loss appears to be
a function of the modulation depth at the breaking onset. Energy loss grows with modulation depth up to
a certain threshold of the latter. It was also shown that breaking probability for wave groups with modulation
depth below 2.2 is very low.