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Sergey K. Gulev and Lutz Hasse

Abstract

On the basis of the collection of individual marine observations available from the Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set, major parameters of the sea state were evaluated. Climatological fields of wind waves and swell height and period, as well as significant wave height and resultant period are obtained for the North Atlantic Ocean for the period from 1964 to 1993. Validation of the results against instrumental records from National Data Buoy Center buoys and ocean weather station measurements indicate relatively good agreement for wave height and systematic biases in the visually estimated periods that were corrected. Wave age, which is important for wind stress estimates, was evaluated form wave and wind observations. The climatology of wave age indicates younger waves in winter in the North Atlantic midlatitudes and Tropics. Wave age estimates were applied to the calculations of the wind stress using parameterizations from field experiments. Differences between wave-age-based and traditional estimates are not negligible in wintertime in midlatitudes and Tropics where wave-induced stress contributes from 5% to 15% to the total stress estimates. Importance of the obtained effects for ocean circulation and climate variability is discussed.

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