EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Projected 21st Century changes in extreme wind-wave events

Alberto Meucci
Alberto Meucci
  • University of Melbourne, Melbourne School of Engineering, Department of Infrastructure Engineering, Australia (

Extreme ocean waves shape world coastlines and significantly impact offshore operations. Climate change may further exacerbate these effects increasing losses in human lives and economic activities. Studies generally agree on the trends in the mean values, yet there is no consensus on the extreme events, and whether their magnitude and/or frequency are changing. The present work applies an innovative extreme value analysis approach to a multi-model ensemble wind-wave climate dataset, derived from seven global climate models, to evaluate projected extreme wave height changes towards the end of the 21st century. Under two greenhouse gas emission scenarios, we find that at the end of the 21st century, the one in 100-year wave height event increases across the scenarios by 5 to 15 % over the Southern Ocean. The North Atlantic shows a decrease at low to mid-latitudes (5 to 15 %) and an increase at the high latitudes (10 %). The extreme wave heights in the North Pacific increase at the high latitudes by 5 to 10 %. The present work suggests that pooling an ensemble of future projected ocean storms from different GCMs might significantly improve uncertainty estimates connected to future coastal and offshore wave extremes, thereby improving climate adaptation strategies.

How to cite: Meucci, A.: Projected 21st Century changes in extreme wind-wave events, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2781,, 2020


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