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WorldWaves wave energy resource assessments from the deep ocean to the coast

WorldWaves is a global wave and wind climate package developed through EU and industry sponsorship over many years.

18 Aug 2009
Stephen Barstow, Gunnar Mørk , Lasse Lønseth, Jan Petter Mathisen


The offshore data incorporates global hindcast and operational wave and wind data from ECMWF, validated and calibrated with independent satellite and buoy data worldwide.  These data, which may comprise full directional wave spectra time series, are used as boundary conditions to the latest version of the SWAN model for calculation of nearshore wave climate parameter and spectral time series and statistics. The WorldWaves methodology was originally developed in the late 1980s as part of a large wave energy resource mapping project being performed by OCEANOR at that time for SOPAC (South Pacific Geoscience Commission) in Fiji for many South Pacific island nations.  Based on the WorldWaves global database, Fugro OCEANOR have created various high precision offshore wave energy resource and variability maps. In this paper some of the peculiarities of the global wave energy climate are discussed. Further, areas worldwide exhibiting a stable energy-rich wave climate are pinpointed as are areas with a favourable ratio of extreme to mean annual wave power density, a rough indicator of the economic potential of a site.  Use of shallow water models such as SWAN together with short-term in-situ wave measurements (buoys) is generally needed at the feasibility stage for a proposed wave farm.  At the pre-feasibility stage, the nearshore mapping of coastal wave energy resources is often required over larger areas (e.g., a country or state)  and full SWAN modelling is usually too expensive. An alternative, utilising the offshore WorldWaves data together with nearshore satellite observations is a cost-effective alternative. This method is described and validated against nearshore buoy data on the US West Coast.  
The package will also be demonstrated live at the conference exhibition to interested parties.  


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