This paper presents the results from a statistical model for significant wave height in space and time. In particular, various model alternatives were applied to extract long-term temporal trends towards the year 2100. Future projections of the North Atlantic ocean wave climate based on two of these alternatives are presented, i.e. an extrapolated linear trend and trends based on regression on atmospheric levels of CO2 and assuming future emission scenarios proposed by IPCC.

It is further explored how such future trends can be related to the structural load calculations of ships. It will be demonstrated how the estimated future trends can be incorporated in joint environmental models to yield updated environmental contour lines that take possible changes in the ocean wave climate into account. In this way, the impact of climate change on the wave climate can be accounted for in stress and loads calculations and hence in the structural dimensioning of ships and offshore installations. The proposed approach is illustrated by an example showing the potential impact of the estimated long-term trends in the wave climate on the wave-induced structural loads of an oil tanker. Results indicate that the impact may be far from negligible, and that this may need to be considered in the future when performing loads calculations.

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