Ocean wave conditions in the Chukchi Sea from satellite and in situ observations

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Abstract

[1] In situ observation of significant wave heights (SWHs) conducted from three fixed bottom-mounted Recording Doppler Current Profiler (RDCP) instruments in the south-eastern Chukchi Sea in 2007 and 2009 were compared with corresponding satellite observations from Envisat. A strong correlation (0.96) was indicated between satellite andin situobservations for the off-shore RDCP located approximately 82 km to the nearest coastline in the region with uniform topography. However, the corresponding cross-correlations are much lower (0.79 and 0.58) for the RDCPs located within 3.5 km and 10.8 km, respectively, of the nearest coastline probably due to a strong spatial topography gradient and an insufficient number of satellite data points for validation. Cross-validated satellite observations were used for the analysis of wave conditions in the Arctic during the years 1993–2011. We found approximately a 0.020 m/year increase of SWH for the SE Chukchi Sea and a 0.025 m/year increase for the Pacific-Arctic, which correlates well with gradual ice retreat observed in the Arctic during the last two decades.

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