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Alicia Takbash
and
Ian R. Young

Abstract

A novel approach to estimation of extreme value ocean significant wave height is investigated, in which data from adjacent regions are pooled to form a spatial ensemble. The equivalent duration of this ensemble region is the sum of the durations of the data pooled to form the ensemble. To create such a spatial ensemble, data from regions to be pooled must be independent and identically distributed. ERA-Interim reanalysis data are used to investigate the requirement of independent and identically distributed data on a global basis. As a result, typical spatial ensembles are defined for a number of regions of the world and the 100-yr return period significant wave height is calculated for these regions. It is shown that the method can result in a reduction in the confidence interval for such extreme value estimates of between 30% and 60%. The method is demonstrated both with ERA-Interim data and altimeter data.

Open access
Alicia Takbash
,
Ian R. Young
, and
Øyvind Breivik

Abstract

The application of extreme-value analysis to long-duration (30 year) global altimeter and radiometer datasets is considered. In contrast to previous extreme-value analyses of satellite data, the dataset is sufficiently long to enable a peaks over threshold analysis to be undertaken. When applied to altimeter data for wind speed and significant wave height, this analysis produces values consistent with buoy validation data and previous numerical model reanalysis datasets. The spatial distributions produced are also consistent with the model reanalysis data. However, the altimeter data shows much greater finescale structure for wind speed, which is consistent with known tropical cyclone activity. The greater data density provided by radiometer measurements offers the potential to address altimeter undersampling. However, issues associated with the radiometer’s inability to measure wind speed in heavy rain events appears to create an unacceptable “fair weather” bias at extreme wind speeds. This renders the radiometer data of wind speed largely unusable for the investigation of wind speed extremes. The study also clearly demonstrates the limitations of the initial distribution method for extreme-value analysis, which is heavily biased by mean conditions.

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Alberto Meucci
,
Ian R. Young
, and
Øyvind Breivik

Abstract

The present work develops an innovative approach to wind speed and significant wave height extreme value analysis. The approach is based on global atmosphere–wave model ensembles, the members of which are propagated in time from the best estimate of the initial state, with slight perturbations to the initial conditions, to estimate the uncertainties connected to model representations of reality. The low correlation of individual ensemble member forecasts at advanced lead times guarantees their independence and allows us to perform inference statistics. The advantage of ensemble probabilistic forecasts is that it is possible to synthesize an equivalent dataset of duration far longer than the simulation period. This allows the use of direct inference statistics to obtain extreme value estimates. A short time series of six years (from 2010 to 2016) of ensemble forecasts is selected to avoid major changes to the model physics and resolution and thus ensure stationarity. This time series is used to undertake extreme value analysis. The study estimates global wind speed and wave height return periods by selecting peaks from ensemble forecasts from +216- to +240-h lead time from the operational ensemble forecast dataset of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The results are compared with extreme value analyses performed on a commonly used reanalysis dataset, ERA-Interim, and buoy data. The comparison with traditional methods demonstrates the potential of this novel approach for statistical analysis of significant wave height and wind speed ocean extremes at the global scale.

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Alberto Meucci
,
Ian R. Young
,
Ole Johan Aarnes
, and
Øyvind Breivik

Abstract

The trends in marine 10-m wind speed U 10 and significant wave height H s found in two century-long reanalyses are compared against a model-only integration. Reanalyses show spurious trends due to the assimilation of an increasing number of observations over time. The comparisons between model and reanalyses show that the areas where the discrepancies in U 10 and H s trends are greatest are also the areas where there is a marked increase in assimilated observations. Large differences in the yearly averages call into question the quality of the observations assimilated by the reanalyses, resulting in unreliable U 10 and H s trends before the 1950s. Four main regions of the world’s oceans are identified where the trends between model and reanalyses deviate strongly. These are the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Tasman Sea, and the western South Atlantic. The trends at +24-h lead time are markedly weaker and less correlated with the observation count. A 1985–2010 comparison with an extensive dataset of calibrated satellite altimeters shows contrasting results in H s trends but similar U 10 spatial trend distributions, with general agreement between model, reanalyses, and satellite altimeters on a broad increase in wind speed over the Southern Hemisphere.

Open access
Alberto Meucci
,
Ian R. Young
,
Mark Hemer
,
Claire Trenham
, and
Ian G. Watterson

Abstract

We present four 140-year wind-wave climate simulations (1961-2100) forced with surface wind speed and sea ice concentration from two CMIP6 GCMs under two different climate scenarios: SSP1-2.6 and SSP5-8.5. A global three-grid system is implemented in WAVEWATCH III® to simulate the wave-ice interactions in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The models perform well in comparison with global satellite altimeter and in-situ buoys climatology. The comparison with traditional trend analyses demonstrates the present GCM-forced wave models’ ability to reproduce the main historical climate signals. The long-term datasets allow a comprehensive description of the 20th and 21st century wave climate and yield statistically robust trends. Analysis of the latest IPCC ocean climatic regions highlights four regions where changes in wave climate are projected to be most significant: the Arctic, the North Pacific, the North Atlantic, and the Southern Ocean. The main driver of offshore wave climate change is the wind, except for the Arctic where the significant sea ice retreat causes a sharp increase in the projected wave heights. Distinct changes in the wave period and the wave direction are found in the Southern Hemisphere, where the poleward shift of the Southern Ocean westerlies causes an increase in the wave period of up to 5% and a counter-clockwise change in wave direction of up to 5°. The new CMIP6 forced wave models improve in performance compared to previous CMIP5 forced wave models, and will ultimately contribute to a new CMIP6 wind-wave climate model ensemble, crucial for coastal adaptation strategies and the design of future marine offshore structures and operations.

Restricted access
Qingxiang Liu
,
Alexander V. Babanin
,
Stefan Zieger
,
Ian R. Young
, and
Changlong Guan

Abstract

Twenty years (1996–2015) of satellite observations were used to study the climatology and trends of oceanic winds and waves in the Arctic Ocean in the summer season (August–September). The Atlantic-side seas, exposed to the open ocean, host more energetic waves than those on the Pacific side. Trend analysis shows a clear spatial (regional) and temporal (interannual) variability in wave height and wind speed. Waves in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea (near the northern Alaska), and Laptev Sea have been increasing at a rate of 0.1–0.3 m decade−1, found to be statistically significant at the 90% level. The trend of waves in the Greenland and Barents Seas, on the contrary, is weak and not statistically significant. In the Barents and Kara Seas, winds and waves initially increased between 1996 and 2006 and later decreased. Large-scale atmospheric circulations such as the Arctic Oscillation and Arctic dipole anomaly have a clear impact on the variation of winds and waves in the Atlantic sector. Comparison between altimeter observations and ERA-Interim shows that the reanalysis winds are on average 1.6 m s−1 lower in the Arctic Ocean, which translates to a low bias of significant wave height (−0.27 m) in the reanalysis wave data.

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