Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Offshore wave climate, Perth (Western Australia), 1994–96

A. J. Lemm, B. J. Hegge and G. Masselink

Marine and Freshwater Research 50(2) 95 - 102
Published: 1999


The offshore wave climate of Perth (Western Australia) was analysed by using 2.5 years of non-directional 20-min wave data collected from March 1994 to August 1996. The mean wave conditions are characterized by a significant wave height (Hs) of 2.0 m and a spectral mean wave period (Tm) of 8.8 s. However, considerable annual variation in the wave conditions is experienced because of a distinct seasonality in the regional wind regime. During summer, daily sea breezes generate moderate seas (ambient Hs 1 to 2 m; Tm <8 s). During winter, frequent storms associated with mid-latitude depressions generate heavy seas and swell (ambient Hs 1.5 to 2.5 m; Tm >8 s). A low-amplitude background swell (Hs ~0.5 m), generated distantly in the Indian and Southern Oceans, is present all year round. Analysis of extreme wave conditions (Hs >4 m) indicates that, on average, 30 storms are experienced annually, and the storms are most frequent and intense during July. Estimates of extreme Hs, based on all available offshore wave data (12 years, 1975–96), for 1- and 100-year return periods, are 6.7 m and 9.8 m, respectively.

© CSIRO 1999

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