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Journal Articles Ocean Dynamics Year : 2012

Climate change impact on waves in the Bay of Biscay, France


The knowledge of offshore and coastal wave climate evolution towards the end of the twenty-first century is particularly important for human activities in a region such as the Bay of Biscay and the French Atlantic coast. Using dynamical downscaling, a high spatial resolution dataset of wave conditions in the Bay of Biscay is built for three future greenhouse gases emission scenarios. Projected wave heights, periods and directions are analysed at regional scale and more thoroughly at two buoys positions, offshore and along the coast. A general decrease of wave heights is identified (up to -20 cm during summer within the Bay of Biscay), as well as a clockwise shift of summer waves and winter swell coming from direction. The relation between those changes and wind changes is investigated and highlights a complex association of processes at several spatial scales. For instance, the intensification and the north-eastward shift of strong wind core in the North Atlantic Ocean explain the clockwise shift of winter swell directions. During summer, the decrease of the westerly winds in the Bay of Biscay explains the clockwise shift and the wave height decrease of wind sea and intermediate waves. Finally, the analysis reveals that the offshore changes in the wave height and the wave period as well as the clockwise shift in the wave direction continue toward the coast. This wave height decrease result is consistent with other regional projections and would impact the coastal dynamics by reducing the longshore sediment flux.



Dates and versions

hal-00675807 , version 1 (02-03-2012)



Elodie Charles, Déborah Idier, Pascale Delecluse, Michel Déqué, Gonéri Le Cozannet. Climate change impact on waves in the Bay of Biscay, France. Ocean Dynamics, 2012, pp.ODYN-D-11-00186R1. ⟨10.1007/s10236-012-0534-8⟩. ⟨hal-00675807⟩
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