Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp 621–637 | Cite as

Impacts of climate changes on ocean surface gravity waves over the eastern Canadian shelf

  • Lanli Guo
  • Jinyu Sheng
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 8th International Workshop on Modeling the Ocean (IWMO), Bologna, Italy, 7-10 June 2016


A numerical study is conducted to investigate the impact of climate changes on ocean surface gravity waves over the eastern Canadian shelf (ECS). The “business-as-usual” climate scenario known as Representative Concentration Pathway RCP8.5 is considered in this study. Changes in the ocean surface gravity waves over the study region for the period 1979–2100 are examined based on 3 hourly ocean waves simulated by the third-generation ocean wave model known as WAVEWATCHIII. The wave model is driven by surface winds and ice conditions produced by the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CanRCM4). The whole study period is divided into the present (1979–2008), near future (2021–2050) and far future (2071–2100) periods to quantify possible future changes of ocean waves over the ECS. In comparison with the present ocean wave conditions, the time-mean significant wave heights (H s ) are expected to increase over most of the ECS in the near future and decrease over this region in the far future period. The time-means of the annual 5% largest H s are projected to increase over the ECS in both near and far future periods due mainly to the changes in surface winds. The future changes in the time-means of the annual 5% largest H s and 10-m wind speeds are projected to be twice as strong as the changes in annual means. An analysis of inverse wave ages suggests that the occurrence of wind seas is projected to increase over the southern Labrador and central Newfoundland Shelves in the near future period, and occurrence of swells is projected to increase over other areas of the ECS in both the near and far future periods.


Ocean surface wave Extreme events Eastern Canadian shelf Climate change RCP8.5 



The authors wish to thank William Merryfield for providing the CanRCM4 data. We would like to thank two reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments on the paper. We also thank William Perrie, Bechara Toulany, Li Zhai, and Jackie Hurst for their contributions. The research was funded by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Lloyd’s Register (LR). The LR helps to protect life and property by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement, and the application of research. Model simulations were conducted on computers operated by the Atlantic Computational Excellence Network (ACEnet), which is a partner consortium of Compute Canada, the organization responsible for research High Performance Computing in Canada.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OceanographyDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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