Global ocean wave fields show consistent regional trends between 1980 and 2014 in a multi-product ensemble


Historical trends in the direction and magnitude of ocean surface wave height, period, or direction are debated due to diverse data, time-periods, or methodologies. Using a consistent community-driven ensemble of global wave products, we quantify and establish regions with robust trends in global multivariate wave fields between 1980 and 2014. We find that about 30–40% of the global ocean experienced robust seasonal trends in mean and extreme wave height, period, and direction. Most of the Southern Hemisphere exhibited strong upward-trending wave heights (1–2 cm per year) and periods during winter and summer. Ocean basins with robust positive trends are far larger than those with negative trends. Historical trends calculated over shorter periods generally agree with satellite records but vary from product to product, with some showing a consistently negative bias. Variability in trends across products and time-periods highlights the importance of considering multiple sources when seeking robust change analyses.
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