North Sea Wave Database ( NSWD ) and the need for reliable resource data: A 38 year database for metocean and wave energy assessments

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The study presents a newly generated hindcast database of metocean conditions for the region of the North Sea by parametrising the newly introduced ST6 physics in a nearshore wave model. Exploring and assessing the intricacies in wave generation are vital to produce a reliable hindcast. The new parametrisations perform better, though they have a higher number of tuneable options. Parametrisation of the white capping coefficient within the ST6 package improved performance with significant differences 20–30 cm. The configuration which was selected to build the database shows a good correlation 95% for Hm0, has an overall minimal bias with the majority of locations being slightly over-estimated 0.5–1 cm. The calibrated model was subsequently used to produce a database for 38 years, analysing and discussing the metocean condition. In terms of wave energy resource, the North Sea has not received attention due to its perceived ``lower'' resource. However, from analysing the long-term climatic data, it is evident that the level of metocean conditions, and subsequently wave power, can prove beneficial for development. The 95th percentile indicates that the majority of the time Hm0 should be expected at 3.4–5 m, and the wave energy period Te at 5–7 s. Wave power resource exceeds 15 kW/m at locations very close to the coast, and it is uniformly reduced as we move to the Southern parts, near the English Channel, with values there being 5 kW/m, with most energetic seas originating from the North East. Results by the analysis show that in the North Sea, conditions are moderate to high, and the wave energy resource, which has been previously overlooked, is high and easily accessible due to the low distance from coasts. The study developed a regional high-fidelity model, analysed metocean parameters and properly assessed the energy content. Although, the database and its results can have multiple usages and benefit other sectors that want to operate in the harsh waters of the North Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Article number551
Number of pages27
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • NSWD
  • North Sea
  • resource assessment
  • wave energy
  • wave modelling
  • wind drag


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