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Ulf Högström, Ann-Sofi Smedman, Alvaro Semedo, and Anna Rutgersson
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Alvaro Semedo, Kay Sušelj, Anna Rutgersson, and Andreas Sterl

Abstract

In this paper a detailed global climatology of wind-sea and swell parameters, based on the 45-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Re-Analysis (ERA-40) wave reanalysis is presented. The spatial pattern of the swell dominance of the earth’s oceans, in terms of the wave field energy balance and wave field characteristics, is also investigated. Statistical analysis shows that the global ocean is strongly dominated by swell waves. The interannual variability of the wind-sea and swell significant wave heights, and how they are related to the resultant significant wave height, is analyzed over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. The leading modes of variability of wind sea and swell demonstrate noticeable differences, particularly in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. During the Northern Hemisphere winter, a strong north–south swell propagation pattern is observed in the Atlantic Ocean. Statistically significant secular increases in the wind-sea and swell significant wave heights are found in the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans.

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Daniela C. A. Lima, Pedro M. M. Soares, Alvaro Semedo, and Rita M. Cardoso

Abstract

Global reanalyses are powerful tools to study the recent climate. They are built by combining forecast models with observations through data assimilation, which provide complete spatial and temporal information of observable and unobservable parameters. The reanalyses constitute very valuable three-dimensional data of the atmosphere, which make it possible to investigate a panoply of atmospheric processes, such as coastal low-level jets (CLLJs). In the present study, three global reanalyses, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) interim reanalysis (ERA-Interim), the Japanese 55-year Reanalysis (JRA-55), and the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2), are used to build an ensemble of reanalyses for a period encompassing 1980–2016 with 6-hourly output. A detailed global climatology of CLLJs is presented based on this ensemble of reanalyses. This reanalysis ensemble makes it possible to explore the ability of reanalysis to represent the CLLJs mitigating its uncertainty and adding robustness. The annual and diurnal cycle as well as the interannual variability are analyzed in order to evaluate the temporal variability of frequency of occurrence of CLLJ. The ensemble mean displays a good representation of the seasonal spatial variability of frequency of occurrence of coastal jets. The Oman and Benguela CLLJs show, respectively, a decrease and increase of frequency of occurrence in the studied period, which are statistically significant during boreal summer and austral spring. The coastal jets have higher mean frequencies of occurrences during late afternoon and early evening. During the season where each CLLJ has higher mean frequency of occurrence, the Oman CLLJ is the most intense and occurs at higher altitudes.

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Alvaro Semedo, Øyvind Saetra, Anna Rutgersson, Kimmo K. Kahma, and Heidi Pettersson

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Recent field observations and large-eddy simulations have shown that the impact of fast swell on the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) might be stronger than previously assumed. For low to moderate winds blowing in the same direction as the waves, swell propagates faster than the mean wind. The momentum flux above the sea surface will then have two major components: the turbulent shear stress, directed downward, and the swell-induced stress, directed upward. For sufficiently high wave age values, the wave-induced component becomes increasingly dominant, and the total momentum flux will be directed into the atmosphere. Recent field measurements have shown that this upward momentum transfer from the ocean into the atmosphere has a considerable impact on the surface layer flow dynamics and on the turbulence structure of the overall MABL. The vertical wind profile will no longer exhibit a logarithmic shape because an acceleration of the airflow near the surface will take place, generating a low-level wave-driven wind maximum (a wind jet). As waves propagate away from their generation area as swell, some of the wave momentum will be returned to the atmosphere in the form of wave-driven winds.

A model that qualitatively reproduces the wave-following atmospheric flow and the wave-generated wind maximum, as seen from measurements, is proposed. The model assumes a stationary momentum and turbulent kinetic energy balance and uses the dampening of the waves at the surface to describe the momentum flux from the waves to the atmosphere. In this study, simultaneous observations of wind profiles, turbulent fluxes, and wave spectra during swell events are presented and compared with the model. In the absence of an established model for the linear damping ratio during swell conditions, the model is combined with observations to estimate the wave damping. For the cases in which the observations showed a pronounced swell signal and almost no wind waves, the agreement between observed and modeled wind profiles is remarkably good. The resulting attenuation length is found to be relatively short, which suggests that the estimated damping ratios are too large. The authors attribute this, at least partly, to processes not accounted for by the model, such as the existence of an atmospheric background wind. In the model, this extra momentum must be supplied by the waves in terms of a larger damping ratio.

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Gil Lemos, Alvaro Semedo, Mikhail Dobrynin, Melisa Menendez, and Pedro M. A. Miranda

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A quantile-based bias-correction method is applied to a seven-member dynamic ensemble of global wave climate simulations with the aim of reducing the significant wave height H S, mean wave period T m, and mean wave direction (MWD) biases, in comparison with the ERA5 reanalysis. The corresponding projected changes toward the end of the twenty-first century are assessed. Seven CMIP5 EC-EARTH runs (single forcing) were used to force seven wave model (WAM) realizations (single model), following the RCP8.5 scenario (single scenario). The biases for the 1979–2005 reference period (present climate) are corrected using the empirical Gumbel quantile mapping and empirical quantile mapping methods. The same bias-correction parameters are applied to the H S, T m (and wave energy flux P w), and MWD future climate projections for the 2081–2100 period. The bias-corrected projected changes show increases in the annual mean H S (14%), T m (6.5%), and P w (30%) in the Southern Hemisphere and decreases in the Northern Hemisphere (mainly in the North Atlantic Ocean) that are more pronounced during local winter. For the upper quantiles, the bias-corrected projected changes are more striking during local summer, up to 120%, for P w. After bias correction, the magnitude of the H S, T m, and P w original projected changes has generally increased. These results, albeit consistent with recent studies, show the relevance of a quantile-based bias-correction method in the estimation of the future projected changes in swave climate that is able to deal with the misrepresentation of extreme phenomena, especially along the tropical and subtropical latitudes.

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Alvaro Semedo, Ralf Weisse, Arno Behrens, Andreas Sterl, Lennart Bengtsson, and Heinz Günther

Abstract

Wind-generated waves at the sea surface are of outstanding importance for both their practical relevance in many aspects, such as coastal erosion, protection, or safety of navigation, and for their scientific relevance in modifying fluxes at the air–sea interface. So far, long-term changes in ocean wave climate have been studied mostly from a regional perspective with global dynamical studies emerging only recently. Here a global wave climate study is presented, in which a global wave model [Wave Ocean Model (WAM)] is driven by atmospheric forcing from a global climate model (ECHAM5) for present-day and potential future climate conditions represented by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) A1B emission scenario. It is found that changes in mean and extreme wave climate toward the end of the twenty-first century are small to moderate, with the largest signals being a poleward shift in the annual mean and extreme significant wave heights in the midlatitudes of both hemispheres, more pronounced in the Southern Hemisphere and most likely associated with a corresponding shift in midlatitude storm tracks. These changes are broadly consistent with results from the few studies available so far. The projected changes in the mean wave periods, associated with the changes in the wave climate in the middle to high latitudes, are also shown, revealing a moderate increase in the equatorial eastern side of the ocean basins. This study presents a step forward toward a larger ensemble of global wave climate projections required to better assess robustness and uncertainty of potential future wave climate change.

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Øyvind Breivik, Ana Carrasco, Joanna Staneva, Arno Behrens, Alvaro Semedo, Jean-Raymond Bidlot, and Ole Johan Aarnes

Abstract

The future Stokes drift climate is investigated using a global wave climate projection (2071–2100) forced with EC-EARTH winds under the RCP8.5 scenario. The future climate run is compared against a historical run (1976–2005). The Stokes drift climate is analyzed in terms of Stokes transport and surface Stokes drift. The impact on Stokes drift from changes to the wind, wind sea, and swell climate is identified. The consequences for upper-ocean mixing and circulation are studied by investigating the turbulent Langmuir number and the Stokes depth. The historical climate run is also compared to a hindcast with ERA-Interim forcing. Systematic discrepancies due to differences in resolution and model physics are identified, but no fundamental weaknesses are uncovered that should adversely affect the future run. As the surface Stokes drift is largely dictated by high-frequency waves, it is to a great degree controlled by changes to the local wind field, whereas the Stokes transport is more sensitive to swell. Both are expected to increase in the Southern Ocean by about 15%, while the North Atlantic sees a decrease of about 10%. The Stokes depth and the turbulent Langmuir number are set to change by about ±20% and ±10%, respectively. The changes to the Stokes depth suggest a deeper impact of the Coriolis–Stokes force in the Southern Ocean and a decrease in the northern extratropics. Changes to the KPP Langmuir-enhancement factor suggests potentially increased mixing in the Southern Ocean and a reduction in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific.

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