WIT Press

Wind And Wave Storms, Storm Surges And Sea Level Rise Along The Estonian Coast Of The Baltic Sea


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149 - 160




733 kb


Ü. Suursaar, T. Kullas & R. Szava-Kovats


Winter changes in atmospheric circulation above Northern Europe are among the most prominent regional manifestations of global climate change. Particularly vulnerable are the coastal regions along the so-called North Atlantic storm track, along which these changes threaten shipping, infrastructure and human lives. The aim of this paper is to present an overview of storm climatology over the Baltic Sea and to investigate the effects of changes in wind climate on the hydrodynamic regime in the almost tideless fetch-limited nearshore region of West Estonia. The paper presents a statistical analysis of sea level data from tide gauges during 1899–2008, an analysis of wind data from coastal stations during 1966–2007, and a corresponding wave hindcast study. The results show a positive trend both in local storminess and storm surge height. Although both average wind speed and average wave heights showed a slight decrease in the area during 1966–2007, the occurrence of rough sea states has increased. Some of the prominent windstorms also caused major wave storms and storm surges (in 1967, 1969, 2005), depending on cyclone track, coastline configuration and angular distribution of fetches. Keywords: wind climate, storm surges, wave modelling, trends, cyclone tracks.


wind climate, storm surges, wave modelling, trends, cyclone tracks