Wimmer, Werenfrid, Challenor, Peter and Retzler, Chris
Extreme wave heights in the North Atlantic from altimeter data
Renewable Energy, 31, (2), . (doi:10.1016/j.renene.2005.08.019).
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Extreme waves are an important ocean feature. We estimate return values of significant wave height from measurements by satellite altimeters over the North Atlantic. The data were divided into 2° latitude by 2° longitude grid squares and the median along the satellite track was taken in each. Return values were estimated by fitting a Generalised Pareto Distribution to all values above a threshold, which was allowed to vary spatially. This method is objective, more statistically robust and thus theoretically preferable to fitting a distribution to all the data. The novel method gave return values that were up to 37% smaller than those estimated by fitting a Fisher-Tippet 1 distribution to all the data.
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