EGU24-17794, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Exploring the wave storminess along the global coastlines

Hector Lobeto1, Alvaro Semedo2, Melisa Menendez1, Gil Lemos3, Roshanka Ranasinghe2,4,5, Ali Dastgheib2,6, and Jean-Raymond Bidlot7
Hector Lobeto et al.
  • 1IHCantabria - Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental de la Universidad de Cantabria, Spain
  • 2Department of Coastal and Urban Risk & Resilience, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, Delft, Netherlands
  • 3Instituto Dom Luiz (IDL), Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal
  • 4Department of Infrastructure Engineering, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  • 5Department of Resilient Ports and Coasts, Deltares, Delft, Netherlands
  • 6IMDC (international marine and dredging company), Antwerp, Belgium
  • 7European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK

Wave storms present a significant hazard to the coastal environment, particularly affecting the 10% of the population residing in low-lying coastal areas, as well as coastal zone infrastructure and developments. This study utilizes a ~40-year wave hindcast to conduct an analysis of wind-wave storminess along the worldwide coast (Lobeto et al., 2024). The main characteristics of wave storms, such as the associated wave height and direction, as well as the occurrence rate, duration and intensity, are analyzed. Additional climatic wave features including the relative importance of wind seas versus swells during wave storms are also explored. The combination of key storm features has led to a categorization of coastal regions based on their degree of wave storminess.

Results indicate Northwestern Europe and Southwestern South America to be the coastal regions experiencing the most severe storms, while the Yellow Sea, along with the South African and Namibian coastlines, are noted for their high frequency of storms. A global holistic analysis of the wave storminess reveals that, for example, the exposed shores of northwestern Europe experience over 10 storms annually, with mean significant wave heights exceeding 6 meters. A general latitudinal pattern in degree of wave storminess is observed, with the main exception of those coasts affected by wave storms generated by tropical cyclones. Accordingly, regions such as Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Chile, and Australia exhibit the highest storminess levels, contrasting with lower levels observed in Indonesia, Papua-New Guinea, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Myanmar.


Lobeto, H, Semedo, A., Lemos, G., Dastgheib, A., Menendez, M., Ranasinghe, R., Bidlot, R. (2024). Global coastal wave storminess. Scientific Reports (in press).

How to cite: Lobeto, H., Semedo, A., Menendez, M., Lemos, G., Ranasinghe, R., Dastgheib, A., and Bidlot, J.-R.: Exploring the wave storminess along the global coastlines, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-17794,, 2024.