Climate Dynamics

, Volume 42, Issue 7–8, pp 1857–1872 | Cite as

High-resolution sea wind hindcasts over the Mediterranean area

  • M. MenendezEmail author
  • M. García-Díez
  • L. Fita
  • J. Fernández
  • F. J. Méndez
  • J. M. Gutiérrez


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.


Dynamical downscaling Multiphysics Hindcast Offshore surface wind WRF 



The authors would like to thank Puertos del Estado (Spanish National Ports and Harbour Authority) for providing the information from the buoy records and model outputs from the HIPOCAS project. The work was partly funded by the projects iMar21 (CTM2010-15009) and CORWES (GL2010-22158-C02-01) from the Spanish government, and the FP7 European project CoCoNet (287844). The large amount of WRF simulations performed in this study were managed by WRF4G, which is an open-source tool funded by the Spanish government and co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund under grant CGL2011-28864.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Menendez
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. García-Díez
    • 2
  • L. Fita
    • 2
  • J. Fernández
    • 2
  • F. J. Méndez
    • 1
  • J. M. Gutiérrez
    • 3
  1. 1.Environmental Hydraulics InstituteUniversidad de CantabriaSantanderSpain
  2. 2.Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversidad de CantabriaSantanderSpain
  3. 3.Instituto de Física de Cantabria CSIC-UCSantanderSpain

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