We investigate the future wave climate in the North Atlantic with respect to extreme events as well as on wave parameters that have previously not been considered in much details in the perspective of wave climate change, such as those associated with occurrence of rogue waves. A number of future wave projections is obtained by running the third generation wave model WAM with wind input derived from several global circulation models. In each case the wave model has been run for the 30-year historical period 1971–2000 and the future period 2071–2100 assuming the two different future climate scenarios RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5. The wave model runs have been carried out by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute in Bergen, and the climate model result are taken from The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 - CMIP5.
In addition to the standard wave parameters such as significant wave height and peak period the wave model runs provided the full two-dimensional wave spectrum. This has enabled the study of a larger set of wave parameters. The focus of the present study is the projected future changes in occurrence of extreme sea states and extreme and rogue waves. The investigations are limited to parameters related to this in a few selected locations in the North Atlantic.
Our results show that there are large uncertainties in many of the parameters considered in this study, and in many cases the different climate models and different model scenarios provide contradicting results with respect to the predicted change from past to future climate. There are, however, some situations for which a clearer tendency is observed.