Changes in significant and maximum wave heights in the Norwegian Sea

Feng, Xiangbo; Tsimplis, M.N.; Yelland, M.J. ORCID:; Quartly, G.D.. 2014 Changes in significant and maximum wave heights in the Norwegian Sea. Global and Planetary Change, 113. 68-76.

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This paper analyses 10 years of in-situ measurements of significant wave height (Hs) and maximum wave height (Hmax) from the ocean weather ship Polarfront in the Norwegian Sea. The 30-minute ship-borne wave recorder measurements of Hmax and Hs are shown to be consistent with theoretical wave distributions. The linear regression between Hmax and Hs has a slope of 1.53. Neither Hs nor Hmax show a significant trend in the period 2000–2009. These data are combined with earlier observations. The long-term trend over the period 1980–2009 in annual Hs is 2.72 ± 0.88 cm/year. Mean Hs and Hmax are both correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index during winter. The correlation with the NAO index is highest for the more frequently encountered (75th percentile) wave heights. The wave field variability associated with the NAO index is reconstructed using a 500-year NAO index record. Hs and Hmax are found to vary by up to 1.42 m and 3.10 m respectively over the 500-year period. Trends in all 30-year segments of the reconstructed wave field are lower than the trend in the observations during 1980–2009. The NAO index does not change significantly in 21st century projections from CMIP5 climate models under scenario RCP85, and thus no NAO-related changes are expected in the mean and extreme wave fields of the Norwegian Sea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 09218181
Additional Keywords: significant wave height; maximum wave height; Ship-Borne Wave Recorder; NAO; Norwegian Sea
Date made live: 06 Jan 2014 10:35 +0 (UTC)

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