Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 161–172

Wave climate and long-term changes for the Southern North Sea obtained from a high-resolution hindcast 1958–2002

Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10236-006-0094-x

Cite this article as:
Weisse, R. & Günther, H. Ocean Dynamics (2007) 57: 161. doi:10.1007/s10236-006-0094-x


An analysis of the extreme wave conditions in 1958–2002 in the North Sea as obtained from a regional model hindcast is presented. The model was driven by hourly wind fields obtained from a regional atmosphere model forced with reanalysis data from the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP/NCAR). Furthermore, observed sea ice conditions from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute have been accounted for in the simulation. It is shown that the model is capable of reproducing extreme wave height statistics at a reasonable degree of approximation. The analysis of severe wave height events reveals that for much of the Southern North Sea, their number has increased since the beginning of the simulation period (1958), although the increase has attenuated later and leveled off around about 1985. On the other hand, the intensity and duration of severe wave height events decreased within the last few years of the simulation so that annual 99%-ile wave heights have also reduced since about 1990–1995. For the UK North Sea coast, a different behavior was found characterized by a reduction in severe wave conditions over much of the hindcast period.


WavesWave climateSea stateLong-term changesClimate variabilityNorth Sea

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Coastal ResearchGKSS Research CenterGeesthachtGermany