Comparison and validation of physical wave parameterizations in spectral wave models

Type Article
Date 2016-07
Language English
Author(s) Stopa Justin1, Ardhuin FabriceORCID1, 2, 4, Babanin Alexander3, Zieger Stefan3
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, LOS, Plouzane, France.
2 : IFREMER, LPO, Plouzane, France.
3 : Swinburne Univ Technol, Ctr Ocean Engn Sci & Technol, Hawthorn, Vic 3122, Australia.
Source Ocean Modelling (1463-5003) (Elsevier Sci Ltd), 2016-07 , Vol. 103 , P. 2-17
DOI 10.1016/j.ocemod.2015.09.003
WOS© Times Cited 101
Note Waves and coastal, regional and global processes. Virtual Special Issue Ocean Surface Waves
Keyword(s) WAVEWATCH III, Spectral wave modeling, Wave hindcasting, Source terms, Higher order wave moments, Swell dissipation
Abstract Recent developments in the physical parameterizations available in spectral wave models have already been validated, but there is little information on their relative performance especially with focus on the higher order spectral moments and wave partitions. This study concentrates on documenting their strengths and limitations using satellite measurements, buoy spectra, and a comparison between the different models. It is confirmed that all models perform well in terms of significant wave heights; however higher-order moments have larger errors. The partition wave quantities perform well in terms of direction and frequency but the magnitude and directional spread typically have larger discrepancies. The high-frequency tail is examined through the mean square slope using satellites and buoys. From this analysis it is clear that some models behave better than the others, suggesting their parameterizations match the physical processes reasonably well. However none of the models are entirely satisfactory, pointing to poorly constrained parameterizations or missing physical processes. The major space-time differences between the models are related to the swell field stressing the importance of describing its evolution. An example swell field confirms the wave heights can be notably different between model configurations while the directional distributions remain similar. It is clear that all models have difficulty in describing the directional spread. Therefore, knowledge of the source term directional distributions is paramount in improving the wave model physics in the future.
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