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Developing configuration of WRF model for long-term high-resolution wind wave hindcast over the North Atlantic with WAVEWATCH III


The spatial resolution of wind forcing fields is critical for modeling ocean surface waves. We analyze here the performance of the non-hydrostatic numerical weather prediction system WRF-ARW (Weather Research and Forecasting) run with a 14-km resolution for hindcasting wind waves in the North Atlantic. The regional atmospheric model was run in the domain from 20° N to 70° N in the North Atlantic and was forced with ERA-Interim reanalysis as initial and boundary conditions in a spectral nudging mode. Here, we present the analysis of the impact of spectral nudging formulation (cutoff wavelengths and depth through which full weighting from reanalysis data is applied) onto the performance of the modeled 10-m wind speed and wind wave fields for 1 year (2010). For modeling waves, we use the third-generation spectral wave model WAVEWATCH III. The sensitivity of the atmospheric and wave models to the spectral nudging formulation is investigated via the comparison with reanalysis and observational data. The results reveal strong and persistent agreement with reanalysis data during all seasons within the year with well-simulated annual cycle and regional patterns independently of the nudging parameters that were tested. Thus, the proposed formulation of the nudging provides a reliable framework for future long-term experiments aiming at hindcasting climate variability in the North Atlantic wave field. At the same time, dynamical downscaling allows for simulation of higher waves in coastal regions, specifically near the Greenland east coast likely due to a better representation of the mesoscale atmospheric dynamics in this area.

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We thank two anonymous reviewers for the helpful comments on the first version of the manuscript. We thank Natalia Tilinina from IO RAS for useful insights. The latest configuration of WAVEWATCH III and WRF models are available by courtesy of NOAA and NCAR. We thank ECMWF for releasing their data to the public and the open-source NCAR graphics.


This work was supported by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science (agreement 14.616.21.0075, project ID RFMEFI61617X0075).

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Correspondence to Margarita Markina.

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Responsible Editor: Jenny M Brown

This article is part of the Topical Collection on the 15th International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting in Liverpool, UK, September 10-15, 2017

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Markina, M., Gavrikov, A., Gulev, S. et al. Developing configuration of WRF model for long-term high-resolution wind wave hindcast over the North Atlantic with WAVEWATCH III. Ocean Dynamics 68, 1593–1604 (2018).

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  • Wind wave modeling
  • Wind wave hindcast
  • WRF