Articles | Volume 6, issue 2
04 Jun 2010
 | 04 Jun 2010

Statistical trend analysis and extreme distribution of significant wave height from 1958 to 1999 – an application to the Italian Seas

G. Martucci, S. Carniel, J. Chiggiato, M. Sclavo, P. Lionello, and M. B. Galati

Abstract. The study is a statistical analysis of sea states timeseries derived using the wave model WAM forced by the ERA-40 dataset in selected areas near the Italian coasts. For the period 1 January 1958 to 31 December 1999 the analysis yields: (i) the existence of a negative trend in the annual- and winter-averaged sea state heights; (ii) the existence of a turning-point in late 80's in the annual-averaged trend of sea state heights at a site in the Northern Adriatic Sea; (iii) the overall absence of a significant trend in the annual-averaged mean durations of sea states over thresholds; (iv) the assessment of the extreme values on a time-scale of thousand years. The analysis uses two methods to obtain samples of extremes from the independent sea states: the r-largest annual maxima and the peak-over-threshold. The two methods show statistical differences in retrieving the return values and more generally in describing the significant wave field. The r-largest annual maxima method provides more reliable predictions of the extreme values especially for small return periods (<100 years). Finally, the study statistically proves the existence of decadal negative trends in the significant wave heights and by this it conveys useful information on the wave climatology of the Italian seas during the second half of the 20th century.