Storm waves in the Canadian Atlantic: A numerical simulation
The Grand Banks and the Scotian Shelf regions of the Canadian Atlantic often experience strong winds and high waves associated with the passage of intense storms during the winter months of December to March. These storm waves are identified as a major hazard to shipping, offshore exploration and other marine activities in eastern Canada.
In this study, an operational spectral ocean wave model has been used to simulate sea-states associated with selected storm events in the Canadian Atlantic. The wave model operates on a grid (with grid spacing of about 111 km) which covers a major portion of the north Atlantic. A nested fine grid (with grid spacing of about 37 km) has been designed which covers the shelf regions of the Canadian Atlantic. The model employs deep-water physics over the coarse grid while over the fine grid shallow-water processes as represented by wave refraction, wave shoaling, bottom friction and wave number scaling are included. The wave model also includes, as an optional package, the third-generation source terms as represented by the nonlinear wave-wave interaction terms.
For two selected storm events, the model generated sea-states are evaluated against available buoy data as well as against hand analyzed operational wave height charts over the northwest Atlantic. The evaluation shows that the various versions of the model can simulate the observed sea-states, reasonably well. The utility of the wave model in providing numerical guidance for offshore activities is briefly discussed.
Key wordsStorm waves Canadian Atlantic numerical simulation
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