Articles | Volume 12, issue 6
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2065–2076, 2012

Special issue: 13th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms: disasters...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2065–2076, 2012

Research article 26 Jun 2012

Research article | 26 Jun 2012

Wave climate of the Adriatic Sea: a future scenario simulation

A. Benetazzo1, F. Fedele2, S. Carniel1, A. Ricchi3, E. Bucchignani4, and M. Sclavo1 A. Benetazzo et al.
  • 1Institute of Marine Science, National Research Council (CNR-ISMAR), Venice, Italy
  • 2School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and School of Computer and Electrical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  • 3University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy
  • 4Italian Aerospace Research Centre (CIRA),Capua, Italy

Abstract. We present a study on expected wind wave severity changes in the Adriatic Sea for the period 2070–2099 and their impact on extremes. To do so, the phase-averaged spectral wave model SWAN is forced using wind fields computed by the high-resolution regional climate model COSMO-CLM, the climate version of the COSMO meteorological model downscaled from a global climate model running under the IPCC-A1B emission scenario. Namely, the adopted wind fields are given with a horizontal resolution of 14 km and 40 vertical levels, and they are prepared by the Italian Aerospace Research Centre (CIRA). Firstly, in order to infer the wave model accuracy in predicting seasonal variability and extreme events, SWAN results are validated against a control simulation, which covers the period 1965–1994. In particular, numerical predictions of the significant wave height Hs are compared against available in-situ data. Further, a statistical analysis is carried out to estimate changes on wave storms and extremes during the simulated periods (control and future scenario simulations). In particular, the generalized Pareto distribution is used to predict changes of storm peak Hs for frequent and rare storms in the Adriatic Sea. Finally, Borgman's theory is applied to estimate the spatial pattern of the expected maximum wave height Hmax during a storm, both for the present climate and that of the future scenario. Results show a future wave climate in the Adriatic Sea milder than the present climate, even though increases of wave severity can occur locally.