Time of Emergence for Altimetry-Based Significant Wave Height Changes in the North Atlantic

Hochet, Antoine ; Dodet, Guillaume ; Sévellec, Florian ; Bouin, Marie-Noëlle ; Patra, Anindita ; Ardhuin, Fabrice

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<p align=justify>Satellite observations of significant wave height (Hs) have recently reached 30 years of continuous record. Is this length sufficient to detect the effect of anthropogenically forced climate change on wave height trends? Wave height decadal variability is influenced by a combination of internal variability and forced variability caused by both anthropogenic and natural forcing. Using a statistical model to derive Hs from sea level pressure field and exploiting ERA-5 reanalysis data as well as 80 members of the Community Earth System Model v2 large ensemble, we show that, over the North Atlantic (NA), altimetry-based Hs trends are mostly caused by internal variability. This suggests that Hs changes computed over the satellite era are not yet controlled by anthropogenic climate change. Starting from 1993, the date of emergence, defined as the date when the forced signal becomes dominant over the internal variability, is later than 2050 for Hs in the NA.</p>
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