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Sensitivity of a third generation wave model to wind and boundary condition sources and model physics: A case study from the South Atlantic Ocean off Brazil coast

Siadatmousavi, S. Mostafa, Jose, Felix, Miot da Silva, Graziela
Computers & geosciences 2016 v.90 pp. 57-65
case studies, coasts, computers, data quality, energy, model validation, models, remote sensing, satellites, wind speed, Atlantic Ocean, Brazil
Three different packages describing the white capping dissipation process, and the corresponding energy input from wind to wave were used to study the surface wave dynamics in South Atlantic Ocean, close to the Brazilian coast. A host of statistical parameters were computed to evaluate the performance of wave model in terms of simulated bulk wave parameters. Wave measurements from a buoy deployed off Santa Catarina Island, Southern Brazil and data along the tracks of Synthetic Aperture Radars were compared with simulated bulk wave parameters; especially significant wave height, for skill assessment of different packages. It has been shown that using a single parameter representing the performance of source and sink terms in the wave model, or relying on data from only one period of simulations for model validation and skill assessment would be misleading. The model sensitivity to input parameters such as time step and grid size were addressed using multiple datasets. The wind data used for the simulation were obtained from two different sources, and provided the opportunity to evaluate the importance of input data quality. The wind speed extracted from remote sensing satellites was compared to wind datasets used for wave modeling. The simulation results showed that the wind quality and its spatial resolution is highly correlated to the quality of model output. Two different sources of wave information along the open boundaries of the model domain were used for skill assessment of a high resolution wave model for the study area. It has been shown, based on the sensitivity analysis, that the effect of using different boundary conditions would decrease as the distance from the open boundary increases; however, the difference were still noticeable at the buoy location which was located 200–300km away from the model boundaries; but restricted to the narrow band of the low frequency wave spectrum.