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Comparison of COADS Release 1a Winds with Instrumental Measurements in the Northwest Atlantic

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  • 1 P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Moscow, Russia and Institut für Meereskunde, Kiel, Germany
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Abstract

The reliability of the Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Dataset (COADS) Release 1a 2° monthly winds is tested by comparing it with instrumental measurements in the northwest Atlantic from 1981 to 1991. The instrumental dataset contains anemometer measurements of a very high homogeneity and quality, which were taken by six research sister ships with known anemometer heights in the northwest Atlantic. Special data processing was made with instrumental samples to provide compatibility with the COADS winds. Comparison shows overestimation of the COADS winds in the low ranges and underestimation of the strong and moderate winds. Application of the alternative equivalent Beaufort scales does not remove this bias and makes it even more pronounced. Thus, the conclusion is made that the disagreement obtained results primarily from the uncertainties of anemometer measurements in COADS, especially from the incorrect evaluation of the true wind. Instrumental data also do not indicate significant long-term interannual changes, which are pronounced in the COADS dataset for the 1980s. Some regional features of the comparison are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Sergey Gulev, P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RAS, 36 Nakhimovski Ave., 23 Krasikova str., 117218 Moscow, Russia.

Email: gul@gulev.sio.rssi.ru

Abstract

The reliability of the Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Dataset (COADS) Release 1a 2° monthly winds is tested by comparing it with instrumental measurements in the northwest Atlantic from 1981 to 1991. The instrumental dataset contains anemometer measurements of a very high homogeneity and quality, which were taken by six research sister ships with known anemometer heights in the northwest Atlantic. Special data processing was made with instrumental samples to provide compatibility with the COADS winds. Comparison shows overestimation of the COADS winds in the low ranges and underestimation of the strong and moderate winds. Application of the alternative equivalent Beaufort scales does not remove this bias and makes it even more pronounced. Thus, the conclusion is made that the disagreement obtained results primarily from the uncertainties of anemometer measurements in COADS, especially from the incorrect evaluation of the true wind. Instrumental data also do not indicate significant long-term interannual changes, which are pronounced in the COADS dataset for the 1980s. Some regional features of the comparison are discussed.

Corresponding author address: Sergey Gulev, P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RAS, 36 Nakhimovski Ave., 23 Krasikova str., 117218 Moscow, Russia.

Email: gul@gulev.sio.rssi.ru

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