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

Wave Climate of the Southern Ocean

Ian Young
Ian Young
  • Australia (

Although the Southern Ocean is often viewed as a very remote area, it plays a critical role in global climate. Waves generated in intense Southern Ocean storms propagate across the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and define the wave climate for many areas of these oceans. In addition, the wind and wave climate of the Southern Ocean plays an important role in determining the rate of decay of Antarctic glaciers which are an important element in global sea level change. Despite this important role, little is known about the wind and wave climate of this vast region. This paper will bring together a series of unique datasets to provide a comprehensive view of this wind and wave climate. These datasets include: the long duration model reanalysis dataset ERA-I, a 33-year calibrated and validated altimeter dataset and buoy data from four deployments. These buoys have been located at: Macquarie Island (540S), Campbell Island (520S), a site west of South America (550S) and the Southern Ocean Flux Buoy south of Tasmania (460S). Data from these buoy deployments spans a total of approximately 7 years and provides directional spectra in unique long fetch environments. In addition to providing valuable data for model validation, engineering design and Naval Architecture, these combined datasets provide new insights into air-sea interaction under extremely long fetch conditions. The paper will also use the satellite datasets to investigate changes in wave conditions in recent decades and the role that climate variability plays in such changes. This analysis will examine: long-term trends, annual variability and multi-year oscillations.

How to cite: Young, I.: Wave Climate of the Southern Ocean , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-38,, 2019


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