Wave and wind projections along United States coasts

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Title: Wave and wind projections along United States coasts
Coastal managers and ocean engineers rely heavily on projected average and extreme wave conditions for planning and design purposes, but when working on a local or regional scale, are faced with much uncertainty as changes in the global climate impart spatially varying trends. Future storm conditions are likely to evolve in a fashion that is unlike past conditions and is ultimately dependent on the complicated interaction between the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean systems. Despite a lack of available data and tools to address future impacts, consideration of climate change is increasingly becoming a requirement for organizations considering future nearshore and coastal vulnerabilities. To address this need, the USGS used winds from four different atmosphere-ocean coupled general circulation models (AOGCMs) or Global Climate Models (GCMs) and the WaveWatchIII numerical wave model to compute historical and future wave conditions under the influence of two climate scenarios. The GCMs respond to specified, time-varying concentrations of various atmospheric constituents (such as greenhouse gases) and include an interactive representation of the atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice. The two climate scenarios are derived from the Coupled Model Inter-Comparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5; World Climate Research Programme, 2013) and represent one medium-emission mitigation scenario (RCP4.5; Representative Concentration Pathways) and one high-emissions scenario (RCP8.5). The historical time-period spans the years 1976 through 2005, whereas the two future time-periods encompass the mid (years 2026 through 2045) and end of the 21st century (years 2081 through 2099/2100). Continuous time-series of dynamically downscaled hourly wave parameters (significant wave heights, peak wave periods, and wave directions) and three-hourly winds (wind speed and wind direction) are available for download at discrete deep-water locations along four U.S. coastal regions: • Pacific Islands • West Coast • East Coast • Alaska Coasts
The Alaskan region includes a total of 25 model output points. Six output points surround the Arctic coast, eight surround the Aleutian Islands, four are within the shallow region of the Bering Sea, and the remaining seven are within the Gulf of Alaska.
The U.S. West Coast region stretches from the U.S.- Mexico border to the U.S.- Canada border and includes open coast areas of California, Oregon, and Washington. The West Coast region includes fifteen model output points. Eight model output points are co-located with observation buoys and are identified by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Data Buoy Center (NDBC, http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/) station numbers (N46229, N46213, N46214, N46042, N46028, N46069, N46219, N46047).
The U.S. East and Gulf Coasts encompass fifteen coastal states stretching from the Gulf Coast States and Florida in the south to the U.S.-Canada border north of Maine. The region includes seventeen model output points; seven are co-located with NDBC observation buoys (N44011, N44014, N41001, N41002, N41010, N42001, N42055).
Data summaries for the U.S. East and Gulf Coast regions are provided from the 1.25° x 1.00° global (NWW3) wave model grid (described in Data and Methods section below). Data summaries for the U.S. West Coast region are available from the NWW3 grid and from the finer resolution 0.25° x 0.25° Eastern North Pacific (ENP) grid nested within the NWW3 grid. Data summaries for the southern coast of Alaska are also available from the ENP grid. In cases where model data exist for both the NWW3 and ENP grids, both sets of data are available for download (http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7D798GR).
The data and cursory overviews of changing conditions along the coasts are summarized in Storlazzi and others (2015) and Erikson and others (2016).
References Cited:
Erikson, L.H., Hegermiller, C.A., Barnard, P.L., and Storlazzi, C.D., 2016, Wave projections for United States mainland coasts: U.S. Geological Survey pamphlet to accompany data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7D798GR.
Erikson, L.H., Hegermiller, C.A., Barnard, P.L., Ruggiero, P., and van Ormondt, M., 2015b, Projected wave conditions in the Eastern North Pacific under the influence of two CMIP5 climate scenarios: Journal of Ocean Modelling, v. 96, p. 171–185, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocemod.2015.07.004.
Erikson, L.H., Hemer, M.A., Lionello, P., Mendez, F.J., Mori, N., Semedo, A., Wang, X.L., and Wolf, J., 2015a, Projection of wave conditions in response to climate change: A community approach to global and regional wave downscaling: Proceedings Coastal Sediments 2015, 13 p., https://doi.org/10.1142/9789814689977_0243.
Meinshausen, M., Smith, S.J., Calvin, K., Daniel, J.S., Kainuma, M.L.T., Lamarque, J-F., Matsumoto, K., Montzka, S.A., Raper, S.C.B., Riahi, K., Thomson, A., Velders, G.J.M., and van Vuuren, D.P.P., 2011, The RCP greenhouse gas concentrations and their extensions from 1765 to 2300: Climate Change, v. 109, p. 213–241, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0156-z.
Moss, R.H., Edmonds, J.A., Hibbard, K.A., Manning, M.R., Rose, S.K., van Vuuren, D.P., Carter, T.R., Emori, S., Kainuma, M., Kram, T., Meehl, G.A., Mitchell, J.F.B., Nakicenovic, N., Riahi, K., Smith, S.J., Stouffer, R.J., Thomson, A.M., Weyant, J.P., and Wilbanks, T.J., 2010, The next generation of scenarios for climate change research and assessment: Nature, v. 463, p. 747–756, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08823.
Riahi, K., Rao, S., Krey, V., Cho, C., Chirkov, V., Fischer, G., Kindermann, G., Nakicenovic, N., and Rafai, P., 2011, RCP 8.5: Exploring the consequence of high emission trajectories: Climatic Change, v. 109, p. 33–57, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0149-y.
Storlazzi, C.D., Shope, J.B., Erikson, L.H., Hegermiller, C.A., and Barnard, P.L., 2015, Future wave and wind projections for United States and United States-affiliated Pacific Islands: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1001, 426 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151001.
Taylor, K.E., Stouffer, R.J., Meehl, G.A., 2012, An overview of CMIP5 and the experiment design: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, v. 93, p. 485–498, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00094.1.
Thomson, A.M., Calvin, K.V., Smith, S.J., Kyle, G.P., Volke, A., Patel, P., Delgado-Arias, S., Bond-Lamberty, B., Wise, M.A., Clarke, L.E., Edmonds, J.A., 2011, RCP4.5: A pathway for stabilization of radiative forcing by 2100: Climatic Change, v. 109, p. 77–94, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0151-4.
van Vuuren, D.P., Edmonds, J.A., Kainuma, M., Riahi, K., Thomson, A.M., Hibbard, K., Hurtt, G.C., Kram, T., Krey, V., Lamarque, J-F., Masui, T., Meinshausen, M., Nakicenovic, N., Smith, S.J., and Rose, S., 2011, The representative concentration pathways: an overview: Climatic Change, v. 109, p. 5–31, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z.
Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
  1. How might this data set be cited?
    Erikson, Li H., Storlazzi, Curt D., Barnard, Patrick L., Hegermiller, Christie A., and Shope, James B., 2016, Wave and wind projections along United States coasts.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?
    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -179.999996
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -45.724575
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 61.109793
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 42.235016
  3. What does it look like?
  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?
    Beginning_Date: 1976
    Ending_Date: 2100
  5. What is the general form of this data set?
    Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: Website of modeling results
  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?
    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?
    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?
  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?
    website contains wind and wave model results for the Pacific Islands region, and for the West Coast, East Coast, and Alaska Coasts of the United States of America.
    Entity_and_Attribute_Detail_Citation: U.S. Geological Survey

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)
    • Li H. Erikson
    • Curt D. Storlazzi
    • Patrick L. Barnard
    • Christie A. Hegermiller
    • James B. Shope
  2. Who also contributed to the data set?
    The USGS used winds from four different atmosphere ocean-coupled general circulation models (AOGCMs) or Global Climate Models (GCMs) and the WaveWatchIII numerical wave model to compute historical and future wave conditions under the influence of two climate scenarios. See Process Description section for further details of each model.
  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?
    U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
    Attn: PCMSC Science Data Coordinator
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-427-4747 (voice)

Why was the data set created?

The time-series data cursory overviews provide information on trends and variability of geophysical variables that are expected to respond to changes in global-scale forcing. The data are being used for and are made available for further evaluation of trends and variability in offshore conditions, and as boundary conditions for regional and local-scale coastal hazard models. Because winds and waves are the key processes driving extreme water levels and wave-driven flooding, the data are expected to be crucial for projecting future transient sea-level extremes on coasts and for defining areas that might be vulnerable to changing wind and wave conditions.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?
  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?
    Date: 01-Jan-2015 (process 1 of 5)
    Global Climate Model Wind Data Datasets of near-surface (10 m height) winds simulated by four separate GCMs were used in this study: (1) Beijing Climate Center, Meteorological Administration, China (BCC-CSM1.1), (2) Institute for Numerical Mathematics, Russia (INM-CM4), (3) Model for Interdisciplinary Research on Climate, Japan (MIROC5), and (4) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S.A. (GFDL-ESM2M). Criteria for selection of the four GCMs was based on availability of projected near-surface winds to the year 2099/2100, output frequency (3-hourly non-averaged synoptic winds), and completed GCM simulations at the onset of this study. All global simulations follow the Fifth Phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) protocol for long-term simulations (Taylor and others, 2012). Only outputs from the first ensemble GCM simulations (r1) were used when multiple ensemble (differing initial conditions) runs were available. The mid- (2026-2045) and end- (2081-2100) of 21st century time slices were simulated under two climate scenarios. Representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5 represent estimates of the average global radiative forcing by the year 2100 relative to the 1850 pre-industrial period (van Vuuren and others, 2011). RCP 4.5 represents a future with relatively ambitious emissions reductions so that global radiative forcing is stabilized shortly after year 2100 (Thomson and others, 2011). RCP 8.5 represents a future with no policy changes to reduce emissions (Riahi and others, 2011 ). RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios are roughly equivalent to the B1 and A2 emission scenarios (Moss and others, 2010) of the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES; Meinshausen and others, 2011), respectively. Historical (1976-2005) simulations were used to assess model skill (Erikson and others, 2015b) and determine magnitude of change in future scenarios.
    Date: 01-Jan-2015 (process 2 of 5)
    Wave Model The third-generation, spectral wave model WAVEWATCH III (WW3; version 3.14; Tolman and others, 2002) was forced by historical and projected GCM-simulated winds. The model was applied over a near-global grid (NWW3; latitude 80°S–80°N) with 1.00° × 1.25° spatial resolution, and a nested ENP grid with 0.25° × 0.25° spatial resolution (approximately 27 km at latitude 37°N). Bathymetry and shoreline positions were populated with the 2-min Naval Research Laboratory Digital Bathymetry Data Base (DBDB2) v3.0 and National Geophysical Data Center Global Self-Consistent Hierarchical High-Resolution Shoreline (GSHHS; V1.7). Wave spectra were computed with 15° directional resolution and 25 frequency bands ranging non-linearly from 0.04 to 0.5 Hz. Wind-wave growth and whitecapping were modeled with the Tolman and Chalikov (1996) source term package and nonlinear quadruplet wave interactions were computed with the Hasselmann and others (1985) formulation. Parameterizations of physical processes (source terms) include wave growth and decay due to the actions of wind, nonlinear resonant interactions, dissipation, bottom friction, surf-breaking (for example, depth-induced breaking), and scattering due to wave-bottom interactions. Spatial maps of wave heights, periods, and directions and wind speeds and directions were saved on a daily basis, while time series of wind and wave parameters at deep-water output locations were saved hourly.
    Date: 01-Jan-2015 (process 3 of 5)
    Sea Ice Variations in global scale sea ice coverage were excluded from all wave simulations although this parameter is accounted for and available as outputs from the GCM model data. The absence of sea ice is apparent in the wave simulations with regard to several perspectives, such as, (1) waves are present throughout the year along the Arctic Alaskan coast and within the Bering Sea, for both the future and historical time-periods, and (2) H_s and T_p may be over-estimated as the lack of sea ice contributed to increased fetches over areas that are typically covered with sea ice. Over-estimated H_s and T_p are most noticeable during the start (May-July, historically) and end (September-November, historically) of the open water season in Arctic Alaska and the Bering Sea when the fetch should be short. During other times of the year and for the future time-slices, this effect is smaller since storm waves appear to be duration-limited rather than fetch-limited. Historical simulations may also exhibit somewhat higher H_s and T_p in the lower latitudes because swell wave growth in the Southern Ocean was not limited by sea ice. Thus, historical wave data should be evaluated in consideration of this limitation, and projected wave data can be considered from a world free of seasonal sea-ice.
    Date: 01-Jan-2015 (process 4 of 5)
    Model Output Data Hourly time series of modeled output data include significant wave height (H_s), mean wave period (T_m), mean wave direction (D_m), peak wave period (T_p), peak wave direction (D_p), mean wind speed (U_a) and wind direction (U_θ).
    Date: 15-Jan-2021 (process 5 of 5)
    Edits were made to bring the metadata up to current PCMSC standards including standardizing authors' names and correcting C. Hegermiller’s middle initial from E to A, updating any doi# links, correcting typos, refining keywords, and using current access and distribution liability statements. Point of Contact and Metadata Contact information sections were changed to static PCMSC contact information. Added keyword section with USGS persistent identifier as theme keyword. No data were changed. Users are advised to compare the metadata date of this file to any similar file to ensure they are using the most recent version. Person who carried out this activity:
    Susan A. Cochran
    U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
    2885 Mission St.
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-460-7545 (voice)
  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?

How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?
    Accuracy of results is generally better with the ENP grid, but for evaluation of patterns and relative change of future versus historical climatologies, the coarser NWW3 grid is sufficient for many purposes
  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?
    A formal accuracy assessment of the horizontal positional information in the data set has not been conducted.
  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?
    A formal accuracy assessment of the horizontal positional information in the data set has not been conducted.
  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?
    Data set is considered complete for the information presented, as described in the abstract. Users are advised to read the rest of the metadata record carefully for additional details.
  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?
    No formal logical accuracy tests were conducted

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?
Access_Constraints: None
USGS-authored or produced data and information are in the public domain from the U.S. Government and are freely redistributable with proper metadata and source attribution. Please recognize and acknowledge the U.S. Geological Survey as the originator(s) of the dataset and in products derived from these data. This information is not intended for navigation purposes.
  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)
    Li Erikson
    U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-427-4787 (voice)
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set?
  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?
    Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty.
  4. How can I download or order the data?

Who wrote the metadata?

Last modified: 15-Jan-2021
Metadata author:
U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Attn: PCMSC Science Data Coordinator
2885 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, CA

831-427-4747 (voice)
Metadata standard:
Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

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