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ABSTRACT

We consider possible changes in the future climate of wind speed (WS), significant wave height (SWH) and storm surge residual (SSR) for a region covering the Northern Seas. Our results are based on an analysis of changes in the response derived with regional atmosphere, wave, and storm surge models run for two time periods 1961–1990 and 2071–2100. Available for the study were atmospheric downscalings of the Hadley Centre's SRES A2 and B2 scenarios, the Max-Planck Institute's SRES B2 scenario and the Bjerknes Centre's SRES A1B scenario.

The most important statistically significant findings are, first, a decrease in WS south of Iceland accompanied by a decrease of about 4–6% in SWH. Secondly, there is an increase in the eastern North Sea that continues into the Skagerrak. Along the North Sea east coast and in the Skagerrak the annual 99-percentiles of SWH and SSR increase 6–8% and 8–10%, respectively, and these results are robust across the various choices in global models and emission scenarios. Finally, there is an increase in the annual 99-percentiles of all variables west of the British Isles.