High-resolution sea wind hindcasts over the Mediterranean area
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- Menendez, M., García-Díez, M., Fita, L. et al. Clim Dyn (2014) 42: 1857. doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1912-8
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The goal of this study is to develop a high-resolution atmospheric hindcast over the Mediterranean area using the WRF-ARW model, focusing on offshore surface wind fields. In order to choose the most adequate model configuration, the study provides details on the calibration of the experimental saet-up through a sensitivity test considering the October–December 2001 period (the 2001 super-storm event in the West Mediterranean). A daily forecast outperforms the spectral technique of previous products and the boundary data from ERA-Interim reanalysis produces the most accurate estimates in terms of wind variability and hour-to-hour correspondence. According to the sensitivity test, two data sets of wind hindcast are produced: the SeaWind I (30-km horizontal resolution for a period of 60 years) and the SeaWind II (15-km horizontal resolution for 20 years). The validation of the resulting surface winds is undertaken considering two offshore observational datasets. On the one hand, hourly surface buoy stations are used to validate wind time series at specific locations; on the other hand, wind altimeter satellite observations are considered for spatial validation in the whole Mediterranean Sea. The results obtained from this validation process show a very good agreement with observations for the southern Europe region. Finally, SeaWind I and II are used to characterize offshore wind fields in the Mediterranean Sea. The statistical structure of sea surface wind is analyzed and the agreement with Weibull probability distribution is discussed. In addition, wind persistence and extreme wind speed (50 year return period) are characterized and relevant areas of wind power generation are described by estimating wind energy quantities.