This paper examines the characteristics and long-term variability of storminess for the Spanish coast of the Bay of Biscay for the period 1948 to 2015, by coupling wave (observed and modelled) and atmospheric datasets. The diversity of atmospheric mechanisms that are responsible for wave storms are highlighted at different spatial and temporal scales: synoptic (cyclone) and low frequency (teleconnection patterns) time scales. Two types of storms, defined mostly by wave period and storm energy, are distinguished, resulting from the distance to the forcing cyclones, and the length of the fetch area. No statistically significant trends were found for storminess and the associated atmospheric indices over the period of interest. Storminess reached a maximum around the decade of the 1980s, while less activity occurred at the beginning and end of the period of study. In addition, the results reveal that only the WEPI (West Europe Pressure Anomaly Index), EA (Eastern Atlantic), and EA/WR (Eastern Atlantic/Western Russia) teleconnection patterns are able to explain a substantial percentage of the variability in storm climate, suggesting the importance of local factors (W-E exposition of the coast) in controlling storminess in this region.
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