Seasonal variability of the global spectral wind-wave climate
Echevarria, ER and Hemer, MA and Holbrook, NJ, Seasonal variability of the global spectral wind-wave climate, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124, (4) pp. 2924-2939. ISSN 2169-9275 (2019) [Refereed Article]
Our understanding of the seasonal variability in the global wind wave field is revisited here using a novel analysis that resolves the directional wave spectra. Empirical orthogonal function analysis was applied to modeled wave spectral data from a WAVEWATCH III hindcast across a sparse global grid to identify the main patterns of the climatological wave spectral variability at each grid point. Prior methods have focused on the variability of two modes of the wave field—locally generated sea and the primary swell component. Our results also consider additional wave modes at each location, enabling us to track the passage of the less dominant swell modes. Consistent with existing climatological knowledge, the main modes of wave spectral variability at high latitudes are related to eastward propagating waves that disperse equatorward as swell following great circle paths. However, despite being the less energetic mode, the Northern Hemisphere generated swell is found to propagate into the Southern Hemisphere further than the more energetic Southern Hemisphere swell which propagates northward. In the equatorial zone, a complex multimodal wave climate is found, with the spectra variability modulated by remotely generated swell and higher‐frequency waves associated with the prevailing winds. The evolution of these patterns throughout the year is clearly depicted. Overall, our approach captures a more complete picture of the seasonal variability of the global wave field, by accounting for all the wave modes observed in the spectra at each location together with their temporal variability.
seasonal variability, global spectral wind-wave climate