Inter-annual variability and longer-term changes in the wave climate of Western Australia between 1970 and 2009


Bosserelle, Cyprien, Pattiaratchi, Charitha and Haigh, Ivan (2012) Inter-annual variability and longer-term changes in the wave climate of Western Australia between 1970 and 2009. Ocean Dynamics, 62, (1), 63-76. (doi:10.1007/s10236-011-0487-3).

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Description/Abstract

Quantifying the long-term variability in wave conditions incident on a coastline is critical for predicting its resilience to future changes in the wave climate. In this study, a 40-year wave hindcast of the southern Indian Ocean has been created to assess the inter-annual variability and longer-term changes in the wave climate around Western Australia (WA) between 1970 and 2009. The model was validated against measurements from five wave buoys located along the WA coast. Changes in the mean annual significant wave height, 90th percentile wave height, peak period and mean wave direction were assessed, and the tracks of all wave events generating wave heights above 7 m were digitised and analysed for significant changes. Results show strong annual and inter-annual variability in the mean significant wave height, the 90th percentile wave height and the number of large events (wave height > 7 m) that impact the WA coastline. A significant positive trend in annual mean wave height was found in the southwest region of WA over the 40-year simulation. This appears to be due to an increase in intensity of the storm belt in the Southern Ocean which is associated with an increasing positive polarity in the Southern Annular Mode. However, no significant trends were found in the 90th percentile wave height or the number of large wave events impacting Western Australia. Although the number of large wave events in the southern Indian Ocean have increased, their potential to impact the coastal regions of Western Australia are reduced due to storm tracks being located further south, therefore balancing the number of large wave events reaching the WA coast.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 1616-7341 (print)
1616-7228 (electronic)
Keywords: Wave climate, Western Australia, Southern Indian Ocean
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences > Ocean and Earth Science > Coastal & Shelf Seas
Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences > Ocean and Earth Science > Physical Oceanography
ePrint ID: 338393
Date Deposited: 14 May 2012 16:14
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 20:21
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/338393

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