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Evaluation of Wave Forecasts Consistent with Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Wind Forecasts

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  • 1 * Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, California
  • | 2 Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, Monterey, California
  • | 3 DeVine Consulting, Monterey, California
  • | 4 NOAA/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center, Camp Springs, Maryland
  • | 5 National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida
  • | 6 ** NOAA/GFDL, Princeton, New Jersey
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Abstract

An algorithm to generate wave fields consistent with forecasts from the official U.S. tropical cyclone forecast centers has been made available in near–real time to forecasters since summer 2007. The algorithm removes the tropical cyclone from numerical weather prediction model surface wind field forecasts, replaces the removed winds with interpolated values from surrounding grid points, and then adds a surface wind field generated from the official forecast into the background. The modified wind fields are then used as input into the WAVEWATCH III model to provide seas consistent with the official tropical cyclone forecasts. Although this product is appealing to forecasters because of its consistency and its superior tropical cyclone track forecast, there has been only anecdotal evaluation of resulting wave fields to date. This study evaluates this new algorithm for two years’ worth of Atlantic tropical cyclones and compares results with those of WAVEWATCH III run with U.S. Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) surface winds alone. Results show that the new algorithm has generally improved forecasts of maximum significant wave heights and 12-ft seas’ radii in proximity to tropical cyclones when compared with forecasts produced using only the NOGAPS surface winds.

Corresponding author address: Charles R. Sampson, NRL, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Stop 2, Monterey, CA 93943-5502. E-mail: sampson@nrlmry.navy.mil

Abstract

An algorithm to generate wave fields consistent with forecasts from the official U.S. tropical cyclone forecast centers has been made available in near–real time to forecasters since summer 2007. The algorithm removes the tropical cyclone from numerical weather prediction model surface wind field forecasts, replaces the removed winds with interpolated values from surrounding grid points, and then adds a surface wind field generated from the official forecast into the background. The modified wind fields are then used as input into the WAVEWATCH III model to provide seas consistent with the official tropical cyclone forecasts. Although this product is appealing to forecasters because of its consistency and its superior tropical cyclone track forecast, there has been only anecdotal evaluation of resulting wave fields to date. This study evaluates this new algorithm for two years’ worth of Atlantic tropical cyclones and compares results with those of WAVEWATCH III run with U.S. Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) surface winds alone. Results show that the new algorithm has generally improved forecasts of maximum significant wave heights and 12-ft seas’ radii in proximity to tropical cyclones when compared with forecasts produced using only the NOGAPS surface winds.

Corresponding author address: Charles R. Sampson, NRL, 7 Grace Hopper Ave., Stop 2, Monterey, CA 93943-5502. E-mail: sampson@nrlmry.navy.mil
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