Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 68, Issue 10, pp 1383–1402 | Cite as

Predictability of storm wave heights in the ice-free Beaufort Sea

  • Takehiko Nose
  • Adrean Webb
  • Takuji Waseda
  • Jun Inoue
  • Kazutoshi Sato
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 15th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting in Liverpool, UK, September 10-15, 2017


A predictability study on wave forecast of the Arctic Ocean is necessary to help identify hazardous areas and ensure sustainable shipping along the trans-Arctic routes. To assist with validation of the Arctic Ocean wave model, two drifting wave buoys were deployed off Point Barrow, Alaska for two months in September 2016. Both buoys measured significant wave heights exceeding 4 m during two different storm events on 19 September and 22 October. The NOAA-WAVEWATCH III model with 16-km resolution was forced using wind and sea ice reanalysis data and obtained general agreement with the observation. The September storm was reproduced well; however, model accuracy deteriorated in October with a negative wave height bias of around 1 m during the October storm. Utilising reanalysis data, including the most up-to-date ERA5, this study investigated the cause: grid resolution, wind and ice forcing, and in situ sea level pressure observations assimilated for reanalysis. The analysis has found that there is a 20% reduction of in situ SLP observations in the area of interest, presumably due to fewer ships and deployment options during the sea ice advance period. The 63-member atmospheric ensemble reanalysis, ALERA2, has shown that this led to a larger ensemble spread in the October monthly mean wind field compared to September. Since atmospheric physics is complex during sea ice advance, it is speculated that the elevated uncertainty of synoptic-scale wind caused the negative wave model bias. This has implications for wave hindcasts and forecasts in the Arctic Ocean.


Arctic Ocean wind waves Drifting wave buoy NOAA-WAVEWATCH III Wind forcing Wave forecast for trans-Arctic shipping ArCS 



We sincerely thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable and insightful comments to improve the manuscript. This work was sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology through the ArCS project. NCEP’s CFSRv2 data were downloaded from the Research Data Archive at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Computational and Information Systems Laboratory ( ERA-I and ERA5 data were downloaded from the ECMWF’s Public Database web interface. ALERA2 data were produced from the ALEDAS2 data assimilation system, an AGCM for the Earth Simulator (AFES), and the NCEP global observation data set. ALEDAS2 and AFES integrations were performed on the Earth Simulator with the support of JAMSTEC. NCEP’s PREPBUFR was used as the source of observation and also downloaded from the Research Data Archive ( The WII buoy data used in this paper are available on the Arctic Data archive System (ADS) repository at J.I acknowledges support from JSPS KAKENHI 18H03745. T. W. and A. W. acknowledge support from their KAKENHI.

Author Contributions

T.N., A.W. and T.W. conducted the analysis and interpretation of the WII buoy and TodaiWW3-ArCS data. A.W. developed the TodaiWW3-ArCS model. J.I. and K.S. provided ALERA2 data and invaluable atmospheric science expertise and input.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takehiko Nose
    • 1
  • Adrean Webb
    • 2
  • Takuji Waseda
    • 1
  • Jun Inoue
    • 3
    • 4
  • Kazutoshi Sato
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Ocean Technology, Policy, and EnvironmentThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan
  2. 2.Disaster Prevention Research InstituteKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  3. 3.National Institute for Polar ResearchTachikawaJapan
  4. 4.Application LaboratoryJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  5. 5.Kitami Institute of TechnologyKitamiJapan

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