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The wave climate of Liverpool Bay - observations and modelling

By Judith Wolf, Jennifer Mary Brown and Michael John Howarth


Directional wave measurements have been made in Liverpool Bay by means of wave buoys and acoustic instruments within the footprint of a phased-array high frequency (HF) radar system, which measures currents and waves. Several years of data have now been collected and are supplemented by an 11-year wave model hindcast. Wave parameters have been derived from the various instruments and compared: the directional waverider buoy is taken to provide the ground truth, confirming the good observations obtained from the ADCP; the HF radar wave data have a positive bias, while the model data have a negative bias. The variation of wave climate over various time-scales from seasonal and inter-annual to inter-decadal is examined. Significant wave–current interactions may occur in this area of shallow water and high tidal range and the measurements provide a good test of coupled hydrodynamic-wave models. The waves are mainly fetch-limited: largest events are due to depressions, which track across the UK from SW, generating westerly and WNW winds in the right rear quadrant. Hence, the future extreme wave events will be closely related to future North Atlantic storm tracks. Projections of 50-year return period wave heights differ between different instruments and model datasets. The future wave climate of Liverpool Bay is not expected to change much from the present day; although a slight increase in the severity of the most extreme events is projected, the frequency of extreme wind and wave events in general is slightly reduced. There is evidence for variability on decadal time-scales, with some correlation with the North Atlantic oscillatio

Topics: Marine Sciences
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s10236-011-0376-9
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