A Global View on the Swell and Wind Sea Climate by the Jason-1 Mission: A Revisit

Haoyu Jiang Department of Marine Technology, College of Information Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China

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Ge Chen Department of Marine Technology, College of Information Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China

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Abstract

In this study, a global climatology of swells and wind seas was investigated using near-10-yr collocated wind speed and significant wave height (SWH) measurements from the basic Geophysical Data Record (GDR) of the Jason-1 mission. A statistical method to estimate the wind sea and swell SWHs, respectively, on the basis of wave energy and wind sea/swell probability was proposed. The global distributions of swell/wind sea probability displayed the swell's dominance in the World Ocean. Their seasonal variation showed not only the regions called “swell pools” with high swell probability throughout the year at low latitudes, which have been found in previous studies, but also the regions with high swell probability only in hemispheric summer, termed “seasonal swell pools,” located at the midlatitudes of open oceans. The seasonal geographical patterns of the swell SWH were similar to those of the SWH due to the swell's dominance, and the patterns of the wind SWH were similar to those of the wind speed because of their well-coupled nature. The results could be used as a reference for related applications such as ocean engineering, seafaring, validation of wave models, and studies on climate change.

Corresponding author address: Ge Chen, Department of Ocean Technology, College of Information Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, 238 Songling Rd., Qingdao 266100, China. E-mail: gechen@ouc.edu.cn

Abstract

In this study, a global climatology of swells and wind seas was investigated using near-10-yr collocated wind speed and significant wave height (SWH) measurements from the basic Geophysical Data Record (GDR) of the Jason-1 mission. A statistical method to estimate the wind sea and swell SWHs, respectively, on the basis of wave energy and wind sea/swell probability was proposed. The global distributions of swell/wind sea probability displayed the swell's dominance in the World Ocean. Their seasonal variation showed not only the regions called “swell pools” with high swell probability throughout the year at low latitudes, which have been found in previous studies, but also the regions with high swell probability only in hemispheric summer, termed “seasonal swell pools,” located at the midlatitudes of open oceans. The seasonal geographical patterns of the swell SWH were similar to those of the SWH due to the swell's dominance, and the patterns of the wind SWH were similar to those of the wind speed because of their well-coupled nature. The results could be used as a reference for related applications such as ocean engineering, seafaring, validation of wave models, and studies on climate change.

Corresponding author address: Ge Chen, Department of Ocean Technology, College of Information Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, 238 Songling Rd., Qingdao 266100, China. E-mail: gechen@ouc.edu.cn
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