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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016, Article ID 2419353, 21 pages
Research Article

Long-Term Variability of Extreme Significant Wave Height in the South China Sea

1College of Physical and Environmental Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
2College of Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China

Received 31 March 2016; Revised 25 July 2016; Accepted 1 September 2016

Academic Editor: Enrico Ferrero

Copyright © 2016 Adekunle Osinowo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper describes long-term spatiotemporal trends in extreme significant wave height (SWH) in the South China Sea (SCS) based on 30-year wave hindcast. High-resolution reanalysis wind field data sets are employed to drive a spectral wave model WAVEWATCH III™ (WW3). The wave hindcast information is validated using altimeter wave information (Topex/Poseidon). The model performance is satisfactory. Subsequently, the trends in yearly/seasonal/monthly mean extreme SWH are analyzed. Results showed that trends greater than 0.05 m yr−1 are distributed over a large part of the central SCS. During winter, strong positive trends (0.07–0.08 m yr−1) are found in the extreme northeast SCS. Significant trends greater than 0.01 m yr−1 are distributed over most parts of the central SCS in spring. In summer, significant increasing trends (0.01–0.05 m yr−1) are distributed over most regions below latitude 16°N. During autumn, strong positive trends between 0.02 and 0.08 m yr−1 are found in small regions above latitude 12°N. Increasing positive trends are found to be generally significant in the central SCS in December, February, March, and July. Furthermore, temporal trend analysis showed that the extreme SWH exhibits a significant increasing trend of 0.011 m yr−1. The extreme SWH exhibits the strongest increasing trend of 0.03 m yr−1 in winter and showed a decreasing trend of −0.0098 m yr−1 in autumn.