Comparison of wind speed and wave height trends from twentieth-century models and satellite altimeters
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Climate. 2020, 33 (2), 611–624. 10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0540.1
The trends in marine 10-m wind speed U10 and significant wave height Hs found in two century-long reanalyses are compared against a model-only integration. Reanalyses show spurious trends due to the assimilation of an increasing number of observations over time. The comparisons between model and reanalyses show that the areas where the discrepancies in U10 and Hs trends are greatest are also the areas where there is a marked increase in assimilated observations. Large differences in the yearly averages call into question the quality of the observations assimilated by the reanalyses, resulting in unreliable U10 and Hs trends before the 1950s. Four main regions of the world’s oceans are identified where the trends between model and reanalyses deviate strongly. These are the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, the Tasman Sea, and the western South Atlantic. The trends at +24-h lead time are markedly weaker and less correlated with the observation count. A 1985–2010 comparison with an extensive dataset of calibrated satellite altimeters shows contrasting results in Hs trends but similar U10 spatial trend distributions, with general agreement between model, reanalyses, and satellite altimeters on a broad increase in wind speed over the Southern Hemisphere.