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Effect of High-Resolution Meteorological Forcing on Nearshore Wave and Current Model Performance

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  • 1 National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • | 2 Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, Barcelona, Spain
  • | 3 National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • | 4 Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, Barcelona, Spain
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Abstract

Accurate representation of wind forcing and mean sea level pressure is important for modeling waves and surges. This is especially important for complex coastal zone areas. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model has been run at 12-, 4-, and 1.33-km resolution for a storm event over the Irish Sea. The outputs were used to force the coupled hydrodynamic and the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal Ocean Modeling System (POLCOMS)–Wave Model (WAM) and the effect on storm surge and waves has been assessed. An improvement was observed in the WRF model pressure and wind speed when moving from 12- to 4-km resolution with errors in wind speed decreasing more than 10% on average. When moving from 4 to 1.33 km no further significant improvement was observed. The atmospheric model results at 12 and 4 km were then applied to the ocean model. Wave direction was seen to improve with increased ocean model resolution, and higher-resolution forcing was found to generally increase the wave height over the Irish Sea by up to 40 cm in places. Improved clustering of wave direction was observed when 4-km meteorological forcing was used. Large differences were seen in the coastal zone because of the improved representation of the coastline and, in turn, the atmospheric boundary layer. The combination of high-resolution atmospheric forcing and a coupled wave–surge model gave the best result.

Corresponding author address: Lucy M. Bricheno, National Oceanography Centre, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L3 5DA, United Kingdom. E-mail: luic@noc.ac.uk

Abstract

Accurate representation of wind forcing and mean sea level pressure is important for modeling waves and surges. This is especially important for complex coastal zone areas. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model has been run at 12-, 4-, and 1.33-km resolution for a storm event over the Irish Sea. The outputs were used to force the coupled hydrodynamic and the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Coastal Ocean Modeling System (POLCOMS)–Wave Model (WAM) and the effect on storm surge and waves has been assessed. An improvement was observed in the WRF model pressure and wind speed when moving from 12- to 4-km resolution with errors in wind speed decreasing more than 10% on average. When moving from 4 to 1.33 km no further significant improvement was observed. The atmospheric model results at 12 and 4 km were then applied to the ocean model. Wave direction was seen to improve with increased ocean model resolution, and higher-resolution forcing was found to generally increase the wave height over the Irish Sea by up to 40 cm in places. Improved clustering of wave direction was observed when 4-km meteorological forcing was used. Large differences were seen in the coastal zone because of the improved representation of the coastline and, in turn, the atmospheric boundary layer. The combination of high-resolution atmospheric forcing and a coupled wave–surge model gave the best result.

Corresponding author address: Lucy M. Bricheno, National Oceanography Centre, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L3 5DA, United Kingdom. E-mail: luic@noc.ac.uk
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