New wind-wave climate records in the Western Mediterranean Sea


Amarouche K., BİNGÖLBALİ B. , AKPINAR A.

CLIMATE DYNAMICS, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00382-021-05997-1
  • Title of Journal : CLIMATE DYNAMICS
  • Keywords: Wave climate, Climate change, Climate records, Coastal storm, Climate change trends, Mediterranean climate, PERFORMANCE EVALUATION, COASTAL REGIONS, GLOBAL TRENDS, WAVEWATCH III, MODEL, REANALYSIS, VALIDATION, SPEED, SARAL/ALTIKA, PROJECTIONS

Abstract

This study presents a detailed analysis of changes in wind and wave climate in the Western Mediterranean Sea (WMed), based on 41 years of accurate wind and wave hindcasts. The purpose of this research is to assess the magnitude of recent changes in wave climate and to locate the coastal areas most affected by these changes. Starting from the Theil-Sen slope estimator and the Mann Kendall test, trends in mean and Max significant wave heights (SWH) and wind speed (WS) are analysed simultaneously on seasonal and annual scales. Thus, the new wave records observed since 2010 have been located spatially and temporally using a simple spatial analysis method, while the increases in maximum wave heights over the last decade have been estimated and mapped. This work was motivated by evidence pointed out by several authors concerning the influence of global climate change on the local climate in the Mediterranean Sea and by the increase in the number and intensity of wave storm events over recent years. Several exceptional storms have recently been observed along the Mediterranean coasts, including storm Adrian in 2018 and storm Gloria in 2020, which resulted in enormous damage along the French and Spanish coasts. The results of the present study reflect a worrying situation in large part of the WMed coasts. Most of the WMed basin experiences a significant increasing trend in the annual Max of SWH and WS with evident inter-seasonal variability that underlines the importance of multi-scale analysis to assess wind and wave trends. Since 2013, about half of the WMed coastline has experienced records in wave climate, not recorded at least since 1979, and several areas have experienced three successive records. Several WMed coasts are experiencing a worrying evolution of the wave climate, which requires a serious mobilisation to prevent probable catastrophic wave storms and ensure sustainable and economic development.