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Short Citation:
Office for Coastal Management, 2023: Significant Wave Height and Direction,

Item Identification

Title: Significant Wave Height and Direction
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2018-01-01

Significant wave height is a spectrally derived time-series, which is the average of the highest third of the waves in a random seaway and roughly corresponds to the mean wave height. Values are in meters. Data represent monthly summaries for the time period from January 1980 to December 2009 and include the parameters; significant wave height (ssh), wave energy period (wep), and wave hindcast direction (dfp).


To support ocean planning activities pursuant to the Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States, the Energy Policy Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act.


The Wave Energy Resource Assessment project is a joint venture between NREL and Virginia Tech. NREL is the prime contractor and Virginia Tech is responsible for development of the models and estimating the wave resource. NREL also serves as an independent validator and also develops the final GIS-based display of the data.

A note about the data: Bathymetric effects are known to have a large effect on wave characteristics at depths shallower than approximately 20m (\~65 feet) on the Atlantic coast and 50 m (\~160 feet) on the Pacific coast. A variance between depths exists due to the feature differences for each continental shelf. The methodology used in this resource assessment precludes providing site-specific information to such developers. Reliable site-specific information in shallow waters can only be produced using results from models with higher spatial resolution that include shallow-water physics. The wave resource assessment group acknowledges that its results will not be accurate in the shallower waters of the inner continental shelf.

Supplemental Information:

Bureau Code: 006:48, Program Code: 006:055


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None coastal
None renewable energy

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
None Exclusive Economic Zone
None Outer Continental Shelf
None Territorial Sea
None United States of America

Physical Location

City: Charleston
State/Province: SC

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: Map (digital)
Entity Attribute Overview:

waveHindcastDirectionAnnual, significantWaveHeightAnnual, waveEnergyPeriodAnnual, plus direction, height and period for each month

Distribution Liability:

Data Set Credit: U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Support Roles

Point of Contact

CC ID: 1116455
Date Effective From: 2018-06
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


Currentness Reference: Publication Date

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 1116465
W° Bound: -179.998
E° Bound: 179.998
N° Bound: 63.03335
S° Bound: 16.96665

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Use Constraints:

For coastal and ocean planning

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 1121375
Download URL:
Description: Data Registry

Distribution 2

CC ID: 1116456
Download URL:

Technical Environment


Microsoft Windows, ArcGIS Pro, Azure SQL

Data Quality



Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

Compiled to meet 10 meters horizontal accuracy at 95% confidence level

Completeness Report:


Conceptual Consistency:

These data are logically consistent



Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource

CC ID: 1178540
Citation URL:

Significant Wave Height Monthly and Annual Summaries

CC ID: 1116462
Contact Role Type: Originator
Contact Type: Organization
Contact Name: U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2018-08-01
Citation URL:
Citation URL Name: Source Online Linkage
Citation URL Description:

URL where the source data were originally accessed.

Source Contribution:

Significant Wave Height Monthly and Annual Summaries

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 1116463

(1) Downloaded the data from the link above. Downloaded monthly and annual summaries for significant wave height, wave energy period, and wave hindcast direction. Data were only available for download in polygon Shapefile format.

Process Date/Time: 2018-08-01 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity Significant Wave Height

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 66181
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:66181
Metadata Record Created By: Brianna Key
Metadata Record Created: 2021-12-22 05:02+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-05-30 18:10+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2021-12-22
Owner Org: OCM
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2021-12-22
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2022-12-22