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A Multigrid Wave Forecasting Model: A New Paradigm in Operational Wave Forecasting

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  • 1 * NOAA/NCEP, College Park, Maryland
  • | 2 IMSG at NOAA/NCEP, Rockville, Maryland
  • | 3 SRG at NOAA/NCEP, Camp Spring, Maryland
  • | 4 SAIC at NOAA/NCEP, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • | 5 USACE Field Research Facility, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
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Abstract

A new operational wave forecasting system has been implemented at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) using the third public release of WAVEWATCH III. The new system uses a mosaic of grids with two-way nesting in a single model. This global system replaces a previous operational wave modeling suite (based on the second release of WAVEWATCH III). The new forecast system consists of nine grids at different resolutions to provide the National Weather Service (NWS) and NCEP centers with model guidance of suitable resolution for all areas where they have the responsibility of providing gridded forecast products. New features introduced in WAVEWATCH III, such as two-way nesting between grids and carving out selected areas of the computational domain, have allowed the operational model to increase spatial resolution and extend the global domain closer to the North Pole, while at the same time optimizing the computational cost. A spectral partitioning algorithm has been implemented to separate individual sea states from the overall spectrum, thus providing additional products for multiple sea states. Field output data are now packed in version 2 of the gridded binary (GRIB2) format and apart from the standard mean wave parameters, they also include parameters of partitioned wave spectra. The partitioning is currently limited to three fields: the wind-wave component, and primary and secondary swells. The modeling system has been validated against data using a multiyear hindcast database as well as archived forecasts. A new software tool developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is used to extend the analysis from overall error estimates to separate skill scores for wind seas and swells.

Current affiliation: National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, Maryland.

Current affiliation: NOAA/JCSDA, Camp Springs, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Arun Chawla, NOAA/NCEP, 5200 Auth Rd., Camp Springs, MD 20746. E-mail: arun.chawla@noaa.gov

Abstract

A new operational wave forecasting system has been implemented at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) using the third public release of WAVEWATCH III. The new system uses a mosaic of grids with two-way nesting in a single model. This global system replaces a previous operational wave modeling suite (based on the second release of WAVEWATCH III). The new forecast system consists of nine grids at different resolutions to provide the National Weather Service (NWS) and NCEP centers with model guidance of suitable resolution for all areas where they have the responsibility of providing gridded forecast products. New features introduced in WAVEWATCH III, such as two-way nesting between grids and carving out selected areas of the computational domain, have allowed the operational model to increase spatial resolution and extend the global domain closer to the North Pole, while at the same time optimizing the computational cost. A spectral partitioning algorithm has been implemented to separate individual sea states from the overall spectrum, thus providing additional products for multiple sea states. Field output data are now packed in version 2 of the gridded binary (GRIB2) format and apart from the standard mean wave parameters, they also include parameters of partitioned wave spectra. The partitioning is currently limited to three fields: the wind-wave component, and primary and secondary swells. The modeling system has been validated against data using a multiyear hindcast database as well as archived forecasts. A new software tool developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is used to extend the analysis from overall error estimates to separate skill scores for wind seas and swells.

Current affiliation: National Ocean Service, Silver Spring, Maryland.

Current affiliation: NOAA/JCSDA, Camp Springs, Maryland.

Corresponding author address: Arun Chawla, NOAA/NCEP, 5200 Auth Rd., Camp Springs, MD 20746. E-mail: arun.chawla@noaa.gov
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