The Wind Sea and Swell Waves Climate in the Nordic Sea

Semedo A, Vettor R, Breivik Ø, Sterl A, Reistad M, Soares CG, Lima D
. Ocean Dynamics, 65:223-240.

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A detailed climatology of wind sea and swell waves in the Nordic Seas (North Sea, Norwegian Sea, and Barents Sea), based on the high-resolution reanalysis NORA10, developed by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, is presented. The higher resolution of the wind forcing fields, and the wave model (10 km in both cases), along with the inclusion of the bottom effect, allowed a better description of the wind sea and swell features, compared to previous global studies. The spatial patterns of the swell-dominated regional wave fields are shown to be different from the open ocean, due to coastal geometry, fetch dimensions, and island sheltering. Nevertheless, swell waves are still more prevalent and carry more energy in the Nordic Seas, with the exception of the North Sea. The influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on the winter regional wind sea and swell patterns is also presented. The analysis of the decadal trends of wind sea and swell heights during the NORA10 period (19582001) shows that the long-term trends of the total significant wave height (SWH) in the Nordic Seas are mostly due to swell and to the wave propagation effect.