A numerical wave database called ANEMOC has been built by EDF R&D LNHE by hindcasting wave conditions over a period of 23 years and 8 months, between 1979 and 2002. The simulations of wave conditions are carried out with the third-generation spectral wave modelling software TOMAWAC and are driven by wind fields from the ERA-40 meteorological reanalysis produced by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecast. Two nested models, an oceanic one and a coastal one, which zooms on the French coasts of Atlantic Ocean, English Channel and North Sea, have been implemented. The results have been validated with buoy data over a period of two years, and can be used to determine medium wave conditions as well as statistically extrapolated extreme wave heights.
After a description of the main characteristics of the database, the paper focuses on the application of such a database for evaluating the wave energy resource and the wave energy yield of Wave Energy Converter (WEC) technologies in Europe, and in particular off the French coasts.