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Creators/Authors contains: "Vitousek, Sean"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Understanding uncertainties in extreme wind-wave events is essential for offshore/coastal risk and adaptation estimates. Despite this, uncertainties in contemporary extreme wave events have not been assessed, and projections are still limited. Here, we quantify, at global scale, the uncertainties in contemporary extreme wave estimates across an ensemble of widely used global wave reanalyses/hindcasts supported by observations. We find that contemporary uncertainties in 50-year return period wave heights (Hs50) reach (on average) ~2.5 m in regions adjacent to coastlines and are primarily driven by atmospheric forcing. Furthermore, we show that uncertainties in contemporaryHs50estimates dominate projected 21st-century changes inHs50across ~80% of global ocean and coastlines. When translated into broad-scale coastal risk analysis, these uncertainties are comparable to those from storm surges and projected sea level rise. Thus, uncertainties in contemporary extreme wave events need to be combined with those of projections to fully assess potential impacts.

     
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