Articles | Volume 11, issue 9
Research article
15 Sep 2011
Research article |  | 15 Sep 2011

A coastal storms intensity scale for the Catalan sea (NW Mediterranean)

E. T. Mendoza, J. A. Jimenez, and J. Mateo

Abstract. A 5-class intensity scale for wave storms in the Catalan coast is presented. This has been done by analysing a storm data set which comprises 5 buoys during the period 1988/2008. The obtained classification improves the former proposal of Mendoza and Jiménez (2008) by better resolving spatial and temporal variability in wave storms in the area. The obtained classification reflects the increase in wave storm properties as the storm category increases. Because the selected classification parameter was the energy content which implicitly contains Hs and storm duration, this variable was used to define class limits; class I storms (24–250 m2 h), class II storms (251–500 m2 h), class III (501–700 m2 h), class IV storms (701–1200 m2 h) and class V storms (>1200 m2 h). The energy content variable was also used as proxy for induced hazards; the observed increase in energy content for higher classes reflected a significant increase in the intensity of the potential hazards. Lastly, the dominant synoptic situation for wave storms along the Catalan coast was the presence of a Mediterranean cyclone although a direct correspondence on cyclone's intensity over the western Mediterranean with wave energy content was not found.