Wave power variability and trends across the North Atlantic influenced by decadal climate patterns
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Wave power variability and trends across the North Atlantic influenced by decadal climate patterns

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
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  • Description:
    Climate variations influence North Atlantic winter storm intensity and resultant variations in wave energy levels. A 60 year hindcast allows investigation of the influence of decadal climate variability on long‐term trends of North Atlantic wave power, PW, spanning the 1948–2008 epoch. PW variations over much of the eastern North Atlantic are strongly influenced by the fluctuating North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) atmospheric circulation pattern, consistent with previous studies of significant wave height, Hs. Wave activity in the western Atlantic also responds to fluctuations in Pacific climate modes, including the Pacific North American (PNA) pattern and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation. The magnitude of upward long‐term trends during winter over the northeast Atlantic is strongly influenced by heightened storm activity under the extreme positive phase of winter NAO in the early 1990s. In contrast, PW along the United States East Coast shows no increasing trend, with wave activity there most closely associated with the PNA. Strong wave power “events” exhibit significant upward trends along the Atlantic coasts of Iceland and Europe during winter months. Importantly, in opposition to the long‐term increase of PW, a recent general decrease in PW across the North Atlantic from 2000 to 2008 occurred. The 2000–2008 decrease was associated with a general shift of winter NAO to its negative phase, underscoring the control exerted by fluctuating North Atlantic atmospheric circulation on PW trends.
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  • Source:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120(5), 3419-3443
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  • ISSN:
    2169-9275;2169-9291;
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