eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
Earth Science cover
Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences
ISSN 1736-7557 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-4728 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.789

Analysis of wave time series in the Estonian coastal sea in 2003–2014; pp. 289–304

Full article in PDF format | doi: 10.3176/earth.2015.35

Ülo Suursaar


Statistics of hindcast wave series were studied at eight differently exposed fetch-limited Estonian coastal sea locations (Harilaid, Kihnu, Kõiguste, Matsi, Neugrund, Sundgrund, Suurupi and Letipea). Based on episodic wave measurements obtained with the bottom mounted Recording Doppler Current Profiler in 2006–2014, a model for significant wave height was calibrated separately for those locations; using wind forcing data from Estonian coastal meteorological stations, a set of hourly hindcasts were obtained over the period from September 2003 to December 2014. Fourier analysis of monthly time series with regard to both average wave conditions and high wave events showed a distinct seasonality with specific amplitudes and the phases that differed by about a month between the locations. In addition, spectra of hourly time series indicated diurnal variations (24 and 12 h harmonics) and a consistent background noise following – 5/3 power law between the periods of 2 h and 4 days. Deseasonalized monthly data were used to analyse trends and extreme deviations (wavestorms). The possible trends, being obviously parts of longer variations, were not statistically significant over the studied 11 years. The lists of the most outstanding storms were different depending on the site.


Alari, V. & Raudsepp, U. 2010. Depth induced breaking of wind generated surface gravity waves in Estonian coastal waters. Boreal Environment Research, 15, 295–300.

Alari, V., Raudsepp, U. & Kõuts, T. 2011. Towards an operational wave monitoring and prediction service in Estonia. In Abstracts from the 12th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting & 3rd Coastal Hazard Symposium, October 30–November 4, 2011, Kohala Coast, Hawaii, p. 117; 2011/04/12th-Waves-Final-Program422pm.pdf [viewed 9 April 2015].

Bishop, C. T., Donelan, M. A. & Kahma, K. K. 1992. Shore protection manual’s wave prediction reviewed. Coastal Engineering, 17, 25–48.

Broman, B., Hammarklint, T., Rannat, K., Soomere, T. & Valdmann, A. 2006. Trends and extremes of wave fields in the north-eastern part of the Baltic Proper. Oceanologia, 48(S), 165–184.

Hünicke, B., Zorita, E., Soomere, T., Madsen, K. S., Johansson, M. & Suursaar, Ü. 2015. Recent change – Sea level and wind waves. In Second Assessment of Climate Change for the Baltic Sea Basin (The BACC II Author Team, ed.), pp. 155–185. Springer; 10.1007/978-3-319-16006-1_9 [viewed 9 April 2015].

Jaagus, J. 2006. Trends in sea ice conditions on the Baltic Sea near the Estonian coast during the period 1949/50–2003/04 and their relationships to large-scale atmospheric circulation. Boreal Environment Research, 11, 169–183.

Jaagus, J. & Kull, A. 2011. Changes in surface wind directions in Estonia during 1966–2008 and their relationships with large-scale atmospheric circulation. Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences, 60, 220–231.

Jaagus, J. & Suursaar, Ü. 2013. Long-term storminess and sea level variations on the Estonian coast of the Baltic Sea in relation to large-scale atmospheric circulation. Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences, 62, 73–92.

Jönsson, A., Broman, B. & Rahm, L. 2003. Variations in the Baltic Sea wave fields. Ocean Engineering, 30, 107–126.

Keevallik, S. & Soomere, T. 2009. Seasonal and diurnal variations of wind parameters at Pakri. Estonian Journal of Engineering, 15, 227–239.

Keevallik, S., Soomere, T., Pärg, R. & Žukova, V. 2007. Outlook for wind measurement at Estonian automatic weather stations. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Engineering, 13, 234–251.

Kovtun, A., Torn, K., Martin, G., Kullas, T., Kotta, J. & Suursaar, Ü. 2011. Influence of abiotic environmental conditions on spatial distribution of charophytes in the coastal waters of West Estonian Archipelago, Baltic Sea. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, 64, 412–416.

Leppäranta, M. & Myrberg, K. 2009. Physical Oceanography of the Baltic Sea. Springer Praxis, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, 378 pp.

Luhamaa, A., Kimmel, K., Männik, A. & Rõõm, R. 2011. High resolution re-analysis for the Baltic Sea region during 1965–2005 period. Climate Dynamics, 36, 727–738.

Luomaranta, A., Ruosteenoja, K., Jylhä, K., Gregow, H., Haapala, J. & Laaksonen, A. 2014. Multimodel estimates of the changes in the Baltic Sea ice cover during the present century. Tellus A, 66, Article number 22617.

Massel, S. R. 2013. Ocean Surface Waves: Their Physics and Prediction. 2nd Edition. World Scientific, Singapore, 692 pp.

Ozmidov, R. V. 1965. On the energy distribution between oceanic motions of different scales. Izvestiya Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics, 1, 257–261 [English edition].

Pettersson, H., Lindow, H. & Brüning, T. 2014. Wave climate in the Baltic Sea in 2013. HELCOM Baltic Sea Environ­ment Fact Sheets. Online, [viewed 9 April 2015].

Pinto, J. G., Ulbrich, U., Leckenbusch, G. C, Spangehl, T., Reyers, M. & Zacharias, S. 2007. Changes in storm track and cyclone activity in three SRES ensemble experiments with the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Climate Dynamics, 29, 195–210.

Räämet, A. & Soomere, T. 2010. The wave climate and its seasonal variability in the northeastern Baltic Sea. Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences, 59, 100–113.

Soomere, T. 2001. Wave regimes and anomalies off north-western Saaremaa Island. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Engineering, 7, 157–173.

Soomere, T., Behrens, A., Tuomi, L. & Nielsen, J. W. 2008a. Wave conditions in the Baltic Proper and in the Gulf of Finland during windstorm Gudrun. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 8, 37–46.

Soomere, T., Myrberg, K., Leppäranta, M. & Nekrasov, A. 2008b. The progress in knowledge of physical oceanography of the Gulf of Finland: a review for 1997–2007. Oceanologia, 50, 287–362.

Soomere, T., Weisse, R. & Behrens, A. 2012. Wave climate in the Arkona Basin, the Baltic Sea. Ocean Science, 8, 287–300.

Stips, A. & Lilover, M. 2012. The regime shift in the Baltic Sea area – Caused by the change of the NAO sign? In Baltic International Symposium (BALTIC), 2012 IEEE/OES, pp. 1–7; articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=6249164 [viewed 9 April 2015].

Suursaar, Ü. 2010. Waves, currents and sea level variations along the Letipea–Sillamäe coastal section of the southern Gulf of Finland. Oceanologia, 52, 391–416.

Suursaar, Ü. 2013. Locally calibrated wave hindcasts in the Estonian coastal sea in 1966–2011. Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences, 62, 42–56.

Suursaar, Ü. & Kullas, T. 2009. Decadal variations in wave heights off Kelba, Saaremaa Island, and their relation­ships with changes in wind climate. Oceanologia, 51, 39–61.

Suursaar, Ü., Astok, V., Kullas, T., Nõmm, A. & Otsmann, M. 1995. Currents in the Suur Strait and their role in the nutrient exchange between the Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Proper. Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Ecology, 5, 103–123.

Suursaar, Ü., Kullas, T. & Aps, R. 2012. Currents and waves in the northern Gulf of Riga: measurement and long-term hindcast. Oceanologia, 54, 421–447.

Suursaar, Ü., Tõnisson, H., Kont, A. & Orviku, K. 2013. Analysis of relationships between near-shore hydro­dynamics and sediment movement on Osmussaar Island, western Estonia. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Finland, 85, 35–52.

Suursaar, Ü., Alari, V. & Tõnisson, H. 2014. Multi-scale analysis of wave conditions and coastal changes in the north-eastern Baltic Sea. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, 70, 223–228.

Suursaar, Ü., Jaagus, J. & Tõnisson, H. 2015. How to quantify long-term changes in coastal sea storminess? Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 156, 31–41.

Tolvanen, H. & Suominen, T. 2005. Quantification of open­ness and wave activity in archipelago environments. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 64, 436–446.

Tõnisson, H., Suursaar, Ü., Orviku, K., Jaagus, J., Kont, A., Willis, D. A. & Rivis, R. 2011. Changes in coastal processes in relation to changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation, wave parameters and sea levels in Estonia. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, 64, 701–705.

Tuomi, L., Kahma, K. & Pettersson, H. 2011. Wave hindcast statistics in the seasonally ice-covered Baltic Sea. Boreal Environment Research, 16, 451–472.

Tuomi, L., Kahma, K. K. & Fortelius, C. 2012. Modelling fetch-limited wave growth from an irregular shoreline. Journal of Marine Systems, 105108, 96–105.

[USACE] U.S. Army Coastal Engineering Research Center. 1984. Shore Protection Manual, Vol. 1, Third Ed., U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington D.C., 719 pp.

Vethamony, P., Aboobacker, V. M., Menon, H. B., Kumar, K. A. & Cavaleri, L. 2011. Superimposition of wind seas on pre-existing swells off Goa coast. Journal of Marine Systems, 87, 47–54.

Back to Issue