Projected 21st century changes in extreme wind-wave events

Alberto Meucci*, Ian R. Young, Mark Hemer, Ebru Kirezci, Roshanka Ranasinghe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


We describe an innovative approach to estimate global changes in extreme wave conditions by 2100, as a result of projected climate change. We generate a synthetic dataset from an ensemble of wave models forced by independent climate simulation winds, enhancing statistical confidence associated with projected changes in extreme wave conditions. Under two IPCC representative greenhouse gas emission scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), we find that the magnitude of a 1 in 100-year significant wave height (Hs) event increases by 5 to 15% over the Southern Ocean by the end of the 21st century, compared to the 1979–2005 period. The North Atlantic shows a decrease at low to mid latitudes (≈5 to 15%) and an increase at high latitudes (≈10%). The extreme significant wave height in the North Pacific increases at high latitudes by 5 to 10%. The ensemble approach used here allows statistical confidence in projected changes of extremes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaaz7295
JournalScience advances
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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