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Wensu Wang, Worth D. Nowlin Jr., and Robert O. Reid

Abstract

Hourly wind fields for the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (here called LATEX winds) were constructed from in situ measurements for the period April 1992 through November 1994 using statistical (optimal) interpolation. Here the LATEX winds are compared with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and the European Remote Sensing Satellite (ERS-1) scatterometer winds for the same period and region. Comparisons show no significant bias between LATEX and ERS-1 wind speeds or directions. LATEX and ERS-1 wind fields nearly coincide except during extreme meteorological events when ERS-1 fields may show noncoherent patterns over distances for which coherence is expected; for those situations, LATEX winds appear more realistic. Although there is no significant bias between wind speeds, the direction bias is more than 10° between the LATEX and NCEP winds. The largest differences between LATEX and NCEP winds occurred near the coast. In summer, the NCEP and LATEX winds showed larger differences and smaller variance; for winter the reverse was true. The authors conclude from the comparisons that LATEX wind fields provided realistic and detailed surface winds that are appropriate for the study of mesoscale processes and forcing of numerical models over the Texas–Louisiana continental shelf.

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