Ponce de Leon, S. and Bettencourt, J.H. (2021), “Composite analysis of North Atlantic extra-tropical cyclone waves from satellite altimetry observations”, Advances in Space Research, Vol. 68(7), pp. 62–772

The north Atlantic Ocean is regularly traversed by extratropical cyclones and winter low pressure systems originated in the Western part of the basin that can potentially generate dangerous extreme sea states. In this paper we study the significant wave height distribution of extratropical cyclones using merged satellite altimetry data to produce composite maps of this sea state variable. Although there are large variations among individual cyclones, the compositing method allows obtaining general features. We find that the higher waves are in the south-eastern quadrant of the cyclone, due to the extended fetch mechanism. The highest wave heights are found during the 48 h period when the cyclone’s strength is maximum. The strongest cyclones have higher waves over most of the eastern half, due to their northward propagation tendency.

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