The West Europe Pressure Anomaly: 1943-2018
MetadataShow full item record
A pioneering and replicable method based on a 66-year numerical weather and wave hindcast is developed to optimize a climate index based on the sea level pressure (SLP) that best explains winter wave height variability along the coast of western Europe, from Portugal to UK (36–52∘N). The resulting so-called Western Europe Pressure Anomaly (WEPA) is based on the sea level pressure gradient between the stations Valentia (Ireland) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands). The WEPA positive phase reflects an intensified and southward shifted SLP difference between the Icelandic low and the Azores high, driving severe storms that funnel high-energy waves toward western Europe southward of 52∘N. WEPA outscores by 25–150% the other leading atmospheric modes in explaining winter-averaged significant wave height, and even by a largest amount the winter-averaged extreme wave heights. WEPA is also the only index capturing the 2013/2014 extreme winter that caused widespread coastal erosion and flooding in western Europe.
The following license files are associated with this item: