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Andreas Sterl

Abstract

The homogeneity of the ECMWF 40-yr Re-Analysis (ERA-40) is assessed. This is done by comparing ERA-40 data with results from the NCEP–NCAR reanalysis and also by investigating a known relationship between a modeled (latent heat flux) and an external (SST) quantity. The direct comparison between the two reanalyses reveals a lot of inhomogeneities. They occur mainly in the Southern Hemisphere and before 1980. While observational density was sufficient to effectively constrain the models in the Northern Hemisphere, it was not in the Southern Hemisphere. From the investigation of the relationship between latent heat flux and SST it is found that, because of an increasing amount of data, the reanalysis results become more reliable toward the end of the reanalysis period (approximately after 1980). When using the reanalysis data to investigate climate change issues care has to be taken not to confuse the inhomogeneities with real changes.

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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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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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EC-Earth

A Seamless Earth-System Prediction Approach in Action

Wilco Hazeleger, Camiel Severijns, Tido Semmler, Simona Ştefănescu, Shuting Yang, Xueli Wang, Klaus Wyser, Emanuel Dutra, José M. Baldasano, Richard Bintanja, Philippe Bougeault, Rodrigo Caballero, Annica M. L. Ekman, Jens H. Christensen, Bart van den Hurk, Pedro Jimenez, Colin Jones, Per Kållberg, Torben Koenigk, Ray McGrath, Pedro Miranda, Twan van Noije, Tim Palmer, José A. Parodi, Torben Schmith, Frank Selten, Trude Storelvmo, Andreas Sterl, Honoré Tapamo, Martin Vancoppenolle, Pedro Viterbo, and Ulrika Willén
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