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AR4 reported statistically significant positive SWH trends during 1900– 2002 in the North Pacific (up to 8 to 10 cm per decade) and stronger trends (up to 14 cm per decade) from 1950 to 2002 for most of the mid-latitudinal North Atlantic and North Pacific, with insignificant trends, or small negative trends, in most other regions (Trenberth et al., 2007). Studies since AR4 have provided further evidence for SWH trends with more detailed quantification and regionalization.

Model hindcasts based on 20CRv2 (spanning 1871–2010) and ERA40 (spanning 1958–2001) show increases in annual and winter mean SWH in the north-east Atlantic, although the trend magnitudes depend on the reanalysis products used (Sterl and Caires, 2005; Wang et al., 2009, 2012; Semedo et al., 2011). Analysis of VOS observations for 1958–2002 reveals increases in winter mean SWH over much of the North Atlantic, north of 45°N, and the central to eastern mid-latitude North Pacific with typical trends of up to 20 cm per decade (Gulev and Grigorieva, 2006).

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