Bad weather and rough seas continue to be a major cause for ship losses and is thus a significant contributor to the risk to maritime transportation. This stresses the importance of taking severe sea state conditions adequately into account, with due treatment of the uncertainties involved, in ship design and operation. Hence, there is a need for appropriate stochastic models describing the variability of sea states. These should also incorporate realistic projections of future return levels of extreme sea states, taking into account long-term trends related to climate change and inherent uncertainties.

The stochastic model presented in this paper allows for modelling of complex dependence structures in space and time and incorporation of physical features and prior knowledge, yet at the same time remains intuitive and easily interpreted. A regression component with CO2 as an explanatory variable has been introduced in order to extract and project long-term trends in the data. The model has been fitted by significant wave height data for an area in the North Atlantic ocean. The different components of the model will be outlined in the paper, and the results will be discussed.

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