Information on possible changes in extreme wave heights is needed to determine the future effectiveness and safety of coastal and flood protection structures. In this study, an assessment of possible changes in the extreme wave heights at selected locations along the German Baltic Sea coast has been carried out on the basis of numerical simulations of waves in the western Baltic Sea and regional climate model data for the past and the future (1961-2100). The future climate change signal of significant wave heights with a return period of 200 years mainly depends on: (i) the location, (ii) the climate change scenario run, (iii) the time period of the comparison, and (iv) the approach adopted to calculate the wave climate. The results show increases of up to +0.5 m and decreases of up to 0.5 m of the extreme wave heights. The increases might have considerable effect on the constructional design of coastal and flood protection structures—such as breakwaters, sea dykes, and vertical walls—because the extreme wave heights are used as input parameters for the design of the structures.

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