Assessment of extreme wind and waves in the Colombian Caribbean Sea for offshore applications

A. Devis-Morales, R. A. Montoya-Sánchez, G. Bernal, A. F. Osorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Interest in Colombia's offshore industry has increased over the past years. Therefore a detailed characterization of extreme wind and waves, in terms of return periods, numbers of events and its duration during the annual cycle, is needed. Two sets of high-resolution data are used in the statistical extreme value analysis (EVA). The significant wave height data (0.125° 6 h) are from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA-Interim reanalysis available for the past 35 years (1979–2014). Surface winds (0.25° 6 h) from the Cross-Calibrated Multi-Platform Ocean Surface Wind Vector Analyses (CCMP) of NASA/GSFC/NOAA (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) are available for the past 24 years (1987–2011). Three well-known methods are applied to the data: the Block Maxima (BM), the Peak-Over-Threshold (POT) and the Method of Independent Storm (MIS). Several probabilistic models (Gumbel, Generalized Extreme Value, Weibull and Pareto) are evaluated for the BM and different threshold values for the POT and MIS. The results show that waves can reach up to 3.8 m and winds can be as strong as 31 m/s when considering the 50–100-year return periods. However, the wave model could underestimate values by up to one meter; hence, there is a probability of higher values in the region. Seasonally, most extreme events occur during the dry season (December–March) and during the Mid-Summer-Drought (MDS) or Veranillo months (June–July). Local conditions, including the reinforcement of the Caribbean Low Level Jet (CLLJ) and the occurrence of cold atmospheric fronts, are important drivers of extreme metoceanic variability. The total number of extreme wind events varied spatially and temporally from 15 to 65 and the mean duration from 15 to 25 h. A total number of extreme wave events ranging from <10 to 80 were computed during the annual cycle in the areas of interest, with a mean duration of less than 40 h.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-26
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Ocean Research
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering


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