Investigating sea state trends and variability with new climate-quality satellite altimeter products
Event: 2019 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting
Session: Science I: Climate data records for understanding the causes of global and regional sea level variability and change
Presentation type: Type Poster
Accurate knowledge and understanding of the sea state and its variability is crucial to numerous oceanic and coastal engineering applications, but also to climate change and related impacts including coastal inundation threats from storm surge, waves resulting from extreme weather and ice-shelf break-up. An increasing duration of altimeter observations of the sea state motivates a range of global analyses, including the examination of changes in ocean climate. For ocean surface waves in particular, the recent development and release of products providing observations of altimeter-derived significant wave height make long term analyses fairly straightforward.
In this study we make use of products presented by Ribal et al. (2019), and the recently released product developed through the European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative (CCI) for Sea State, to compare temporal trends in averages and extremes of significant wave height. In particular we focus on the statistical robustness of the results at different temporal and spatial scales, and explore geographic sensitivity to changes or loss of source data. We compare these results with the current state of knowledge, and conclusions of other investigations based on a range of data sources including in situ observations. In addition, we compare with reanalysis and simulated data sets, and consider their importance as possible source data for evaluation of temporal trends, given the availability of global observations from satellite, and the historical difficulty of validation in remote regions.