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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Robustness and uncertainties in global multivariate wind-wave climate projections

  • Author(s): Morim, J
  • Hemer, M
  • Wang, XL
  • Cartwright, N
  • Trenham, C
  • Semedo, A
  • Young, I
  • Bricheno, L
  • Camus, P
  • Casas-Prat, M
  • Erikson, L
  • Mentaschi, L
  • Mori, N
  • Shimura, T
  • Timmermans, B
  • Aarnes, O
  • Breivik, Ø
  • Behrens, A
  • Dobrynin, M
  • Menendez, M
  • Staneva, J
  • Wehner, M
  • Wolf, J
  • Kamranzad, B
  • Webb, A
  • Stopa, J
  • Andutta, F
  • et al.

Understanding climate-driven impacts on the multivariate global wind-wave climate is paramount to effective offshore/coastal climate adaptation planning. However, the use of single-method ensembles and variations arising from different methodologies has resulted in unquantified uncertainty amongst existing global wave climate projections. Here, assessing the first coherent, community-driven, multi-method ensemble of global wave climate projections, we demonstrate widespread ocean regions with robust changes in annual mean significant wave height and mean wave period of 5–15% and shifts in mean wave direction of 5–15°, under a high-emission scenario. Approximately 50% of the world’s coastline is at risk from wave climate change, with ~40% revealing robust changes in at least two variables. Furthermore, we find that uncertainty in current projections is dominated by climate model-driven uncertainty, and that single-method modelling studies are unable to capture up to ~50% of the total associated uncertainty.

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