Ocean warming effect on surface gravity wave climate change for the end of the twenty-first century

Yalin Fan, Isaac M. Held, Shian Jiann Lin, Xiaolan L. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Surface wind (U10) and significant wave height (Hs) response to global warming are investigated using a coupled atmosphere-wave model by perturbing the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) with anomalies generated by the Working Group on Coupled Modeling (WGCM) phase 3 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP3) coupled models that use the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC AR4)/Special Report on Emissions Scenarios A1B (SRES A1B) scenario late in the twenty-first century. Several consistent changes were observed across all four realizations for the seasonal means: robust increase of U10 and Hs in the Southern Ocean for both the austral summer and winter due to the poleward shift of the jet stream; a dipole pattern of the U10 and Hs with increases in the northeast sector and decreases at the midlatitude during boreal winter in the North Atlantic due to the more frequent occurrence of the positive phases of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO); and strong decrease of U10 and Hs in the tropical western Pacific Ocean during austral summer, which might be caused by the joint effect of the weakening of the Walker circulation and the large hurricane frequency decrease in the South Pacific. Changes of the 99th percentile U10 and Hs are twice as strong as changes in the seasonal means, and the maximumchanges are mainly dominated by the changes in hurricanes. Robust strong decreases ofU10 and Hs in the South Pacific are obtained because of the large hurricane frequency decrease, while the results in the Northern Hemisphere basins differ among the models. An additional sensitivity experiment suggests that the qualitative response of U10 and Hs is not affected by using SST anomalies only and maintaining the radiative forcing unchanged (using 1980 values), as in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6046-6066
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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