Clare Duggan




School of School of Natural and Built Environment
David Keir Building, Stranmillis Rd., BT9 5AG


Ordinary degree in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering from Cork Institute of Technology

Higher Degree in Structural Engineering from Cork Institute of Technology

Professional qualifications




PhD Title

Identifying the past, present and future wave climate for the North Atlantic 


Dr Bjoern Elsaesser and Prof. Trevor Whittaker

PhD Description

Changing climates in the Northern Atlantic has potentially a dramatic impact on offshore and near shore wave climate conditions in terms of the intensity, frequency and location of individual storm events. This research aims at understanding the likely changes in wave climate conditions for the North Atlantic for the forthcoming century. This will involve linking past, present and future climate contributions and assessing trends such as changes in wave height, wave direction and wave period in this context. The data sets produced will ultimately help to assess the increased risk to coastal structures and coastlines, and has application in areas such as offshore marine renewable energy, the oil and gas sector as well as servicing of ports, islands and trade routes.

To quantify these changes, a spectral wind-wave model has been designed using MIKE 21 SW to identify the past, present and future wave climate for the North Atlantic.

The model has been calibrated and validated using hindcasted and observed wave climate data. ERA-Interim Reanalyses data, available from 1979 to present from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) has been used to calibrate the spectral wind-wave model of the North Atlantic (NAWM). Wave data from offshore wave buoys are used to validate the NAWM’s results. Following model validation the model will be used to determine the future wave climate conditions based on meteorological forcing obtained from the most recent GCM simulations using the EC-Earth modelling framework. The future wave climate for the epochs of 2016-2045, 2046-2075 and 2076-2105 will be simulated using the wind data that is available from EC-Earth. This research will expand our knowledge in terms of identifying future vulnerable coastal areas and in determining the survivability of offshore and near shore coastal structures.

This research is supported by DHI, Water Environment Health, Denmark, the Institute for a Sustainable World (ISW) who have funded this studentship, and Met Éireann who are collaborating with Queen’s University Belfast in this project.



Atlantic Wave Model’s spatial grid