Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

A wave climate analysis study

As part of the study to assess Irish coastal locations for potential wave energy converter sites a wave climate analysis study was conducted at specific stations. Based on the British Meteorological Office's Model, hindcast datasets of power duration curves, time series plots and directional occurrence graphs were produced at 3 separate locations and 5 sites.

Results have shown that there is both a temporal and spatial variation in wave climate that must be accommodated when assessing wave energy locations. Significant differences between locations which are relatively close together were found with no obvious commonality connection to explain the changes at one site with another. The variability of wave climate and hence power levels from year to year is also highlighted, in one case being as much as a 100% increase within a 5 year separation.

In the shorter time scale the 12 hourly individual records showed wave energy converters will experience instantaneous power levels which are over 100 times the average for sustained periods offshore. The investigation showed how restricted and occasionally misleading reliance on statistics such as means can be. Engineers attempting to construct devices require a knowledge of these extremes and also the power level variations. Close liaison between the oceanographers and engineers is essential if successful, reliable converters are to be built.

Reported by

Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre
University College
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