Abstract

Introduction: periodically energetic waves, originated in the Southern Ocean, arrive to Cocos Island, because of its location in the Pacific Ocean and in deep waters. The island acts as a shelter dissipating part of the energy of the waves that reach the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Objetive: The objective of the work is to characterize the general conditions of the swell through the numerical simulation of the swell in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP), with special interest in Cocos Island. Methods: The waves are propagated with the WAVEWATCH III wave spectral model. An unstructured mesh is used in the model. Two years (2007-2008) of hindcast data are used as boundary conditions obtained from reanalysis with the WAVEWATCH model, generated by the French Institute for Marine Research (IFREMER for its acronym in French). Annual and seasonal maps and time series of significant wave height, peak period and peak wave direction are obtained. Results: The results shown are similar to other previous simulation and observation studies. The mean wave field is characterized by long periods from southwest direction. The wave conditions on the island obey the extratropical systems of both hemispheres and local processes in the PTE. Conclusions: The WAVEWATCH III wave model showed that it represents the typical wave conditions in the surroundings of Cocos Island. It is the first wave simulation work applying an unconventional mesh in the exclusive economic zone of Costa Rica. The study serves as a basis for extending to other specific areas of the coast.

Keywords: significant wave height; unstructured mesh generation; Cocos Island; swell; Eastern Tropical Pacific; WAVEWATCH III.