Comparisons of Hurricane Fico Winds and Waves from Numerical Models with Observations from SEASAT-A

  • Duncan Ross
  • Linda M. Lawson
  • William McLeish


Several types of satellite data collected during SEASAT-A overpasses of hurricane Fico are used to adjust input parameters in a hurricane wind prediction model. Derived winds are then used in a complex discrete spectral wave prediction model to calculate wave heights and directional spectrum distributions. Three different areas of the storm with winds ranging from 12 m/s to 23 m/s and hindcast wave heights varying from 4 m to 8 m were used to compare model normalized directional wave spectra with those from SEASAT synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery. The two-dimensional normalized spectral energy results from the SAR and wave model showed an average difference in peak directions of 0.9° with a standard deviation of 6.8°. Wind and wave model results are also compared with altimeter data along a subsatellite track. This study shows the value of satellite observations in model validation and, conversely, the value of the model results in verification of the efficacy of the satellite data sets. Especially noteworthy is the snapshot view of the characteristics of the storm, a demonstration of the potential power of satellite remote sensing.


Wind Speed Wave Height Wind Field Wave Model Synthetic Aperture Radar 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alpers, W. R., and K. Hasselmann (1978): The two-frequency microwave technique for measuring ocean wave spectra from an airplane or satellite. Boundary-Layer Meteorol 13, 215–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alpers, W. R., D. B. Ross, and C. L. Rufenach (1981): On the detectability of ocean surface waves by real and synthetic aperture radar. J. Geophys. Res. 86, 6481–6498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, G. S., H. R. Stanley, and N. A. Roy, (1981): The wind speed measurement capability of spaceborne radar altimetry. IEEE Oceanic Eng., OE-6, 59–63.Google Scholar
  4. Cardone, V. J. (1974): Ocean wave prediction: Two decades of progress and future prospects. Seakeeping 1953–1973. Sponsored by panel H-7 (seakeeping characteristics) at Webb Institute of Naval Architecture, Glen Cove, N. Y., October 28–29, 1973. Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, New York, 5–18.Google Scholar
  5. Cardone, V. J., and D. B. Ross (1977): State of the art wave predictions and data requirements. Ocean Wave Climate (M. D. Earle and A. Malahoff, eds.). Plenum Press, New York, 61–91.Google Scholar
  6. Cardone, V. J., D. B. Ross, and M. R. Ahrens, (1977): An experiment in forecasting hurricane generated sea states. Preprints 11th Technical Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, Miami, Florida, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 688–695.Google Scholar
  7. Chow, S. (1971): A study of the wind field in the planetary boundary of a moving cyclone. M. S. thesis, Department of Meteorology and Oceanography, New York University.Google Scholar
  8. Elachi, C. (1978): Radar imaging of the ocean surface. Boundary Layer Meteor ol. 13, 165–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fedor, L. S., and G. S. Brown, (1982): Waveheight and wind speed measurements from the SEASAT radar altimeter. J. Geophys. Res., 87, 3254–3260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Forristall, G. Z., E. G. Ward, V. J. Cardone, and L. E. Borgmann (1978): The directional spectra and kinematics of surface gravity waves in tropical storm Delia. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 8, 888–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gelci, R. H. Cazale, and J. Vassal (1957): Prevision de la houle: La methode des densites spectroangularies. Bulletin d’information du comité central d’oceanographie et d’etudes des cotes 9, 416.Google Scholar
  12. Gonzalez, F. I., R. C. Beal, W. E. Brown, P. S. DeLeonibus, J. W. Sherman, III, J. F. R. Gower, D. Lichy, D. B. Ross, C. L. Rufenach, and R. A. Shuchman (1979): SEASAT synthetic aperture radar: Ocean wave detection capabilities. Science 204, 1418–1421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Greenwood, J. A., V. J. Cardone, and L. M. Lawson (1985): Intercomparison test version of the sail model. Ocean Wave Modeling (The swamp Group, eds.). Plenum Press, New York, 221–233.Google Scholar
  14. Gunther, E. B. (1979): Eastern North Pacific tropical cyclones of 1978. Mon. Weather Rev. 107, 911–927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gunther, H., W. Rosenthal, and M. Dunckel (1981): The response of surface gravity waves to changing wind direction. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 11, 718–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hasselmann, D. E., M. Dunckel, and J. A. Ewing (1980): Directional wave spectra observed during Jonswap 1973. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 10, 1264–1280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hasselmann, K., D. B. Ross, P. Muller, and W. Sell (1976): A parametric wave prediction model. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 6, 200–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jones, W. L., L. C. Schroeder, D. H. Boggs, E. M. Bracalente, R. A. Brown, G. J. Dome, W. J. Pierson, and F. J. Wentz, (1982): The SEASAT-A satellite scatterometer: The geophysical evaluation of remotely sensed wind vectors over the ocean. J.Geophys. Res., 87, 3297–3317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jordan, R. L. (1980): The SEASAT-A synthetic aperture radar system. IEEE J. Ocean. Eng. OE-5, 154–164.Google Scholar
  20. McLeish, W., and D. B. Ross, (1983): Imaging radar observations of directional properties of ocean waves. J. Geophys. Res., 88, 4407–4419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mitsuyasu, H., F. Tasai, T. Sahara, S. Mizuno, M. Ohkusu, T. Honda, and K. Rikuski (1975): Observations of the directional spectrum of ocean waves using a cloverleaf buoy. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 5, 750–760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Phillips, O. M. (1957): On the generation of waves by turbulent wind. J. Fluid Mech. 2, 417–445.MathSciNetMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pierson, W. J., and W. Marks (1952): The power spectrum analysis of ocean wave records. Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 33, 834–844.Google Scholar
  24. Pierson, W. J., G. Neumann, and R. W. James (1955): Practical methods for observing and forecasting ocean waves by means of wave spectra and statistics. H.O. Publication 603, U.S. Naval Oceanograpic Office, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  25. Pierson, W. J., L. J. Tick, and L. Baer (1966): Computer-based procedures for preparing global wave forecasts and wind field analyses capable of using wave data obtained by a spacecraft. Sixth Naval Hydrodynamics Symposium, Office of Naval Research, Washington, D.C., 499–532.Google Scholar
  26. Ross, D. B., and V. J. Cardone, (1978): A comparison of parametric and spectral hurricane wave prediction products. Turbulent Fluxes through the Sea Surface, Wave Dynamics, and Prediction, (A. Favre and K. Hasselmann, eds.). Plenum Press, New York, 647–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schwab, D. J., R. A. Shuchman, and P. C. Liu (1981): Wind wave directions determined from synthetic aperture radar imagery and from a tower in Lake Michigan. J. Geophys. Res. 86, 2059–2064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shuchman, R. A., and E. F. Kasischke (1981): Refraction of coastal ocean waves. Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar for Oceanography (R. C. Real, P. S. DeLeonibus, and I. Katz, eds.), Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 128–135.Google Scholar
  29. Snyder, R. L., F. W. Dobson, J. A. Elhott, and R. B. Long (1981): Array measurements of atmospheric pressure fluctuations above surface gravity waves.J. Fluid Mech. 102, 1–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sverdrup, H. U., and W. H. Munk (1947): Wind sea and swell: Theory of relation for forecasting. H.O. Publication 601, U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, Washington, D.C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wu, C., B. Barkan, B. Huneycutt, C. Leang, and S. Pang (1981): An introduction to the interim digital SAR processor and the characteristics of the associated SEASAT SAR imagery. Publication 81–26, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan Ross
    • 1
  • Linda M. Lawson
    • 1
  • William McLeish
    • 1
  1. 1.Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological LaboratoriesNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationMiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations