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Modeled changes in extreme wave climates of the tropical Pacific over the 21st century: Implications for U.S. and U.S.-Affiliated atoll islands

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Abstract

Wave heights, periods, and directions were forecast for 2081–2100 using output from four coupled atmosphere–ocean global climate models for representative concentration pathway scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. Global climate model wind fields were used to drive the global WAVEWATCH-III wave model to generate hourly time-series of bulk wave parameters for 25 islands in the mid to western tropical Pacific. December–February 95th percentile extreme significant wave heights under both climate scenarios decreased by 2100 compared to 1976–2010 historical values. Trends under both scenarios were similar, with the higher-emission RCP8.5 scenario displaying a greater decrease in extreme significant wave heights than where emissions are reduced in the RCP4.5 scenario. Central equatorial Pacific Islands displayed the greatest departure from historical values; significant wave heights decreased there by as much as 0.32 m during December–February and associated wave directions rotated approximately 30° clockwise during June–August compared to hindcast data.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Modeled changes in extreme wave climates of the tropical Pacific over the 21st century: Implications for U.S. and U.S.-Affiliated atoll islands
Year Published 2015
Language English
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 13 p.
Conference Title Coastal Sediments
Conference Location San Diego, CA
Conference Date May 11-15, 2015
Country United States
Other Geospatial Pacific atoll islands