On the projected changes in New Zealand's wave climate and its main drivers

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Wave climatologies from historical and projected simulations of the ACCESS1.0, MIROC5 and CNRM-CM5 Global Circulation Models (GCM) were sourced from the Coordinated Ocean Wave Climate Project (COWCLIP) and downscaled using the SWAN wave model. Biases between GCM's historical simulations and a regional hindcast were assessed, and the two best-performing models (ACCESS1.0, MIROC5) had their projections analysed. A general increase in wave height and period was observed along the south/west, together with a decrease in (Formula presented.) along the north/east coasts. The projected near-term (NEA21C) period shows mostly a (Formula presented.) increase, whilst for the long-term (END21C) period, increased and decreased (Formula presented.) are present. The areas of statistically significant changes are larger in the END21C than in the NEA21C period. The wave direction change is counter-clockwise along the west and clockwise along the east coasts. This study is a first assessment of historical and projected GCM-forced waves along New Zealand and the database we generated can be of great value for renewable energy research, risk assessment and the mitigation of future coastal hazards.