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Altimeter wind and wave data and Ocean Wave Forecasting

Peter Janssen(1) , Saleh Abdalla(1) , and Jean Bidlot(1)

(1) ECMWF, Shinfield Park , Reading RG2 9AX, United Kingdom

Abstract

Over the past fifteen years there has been a continuous interplay between ocean wave forecasting and altimeter wind and wave observations. First, the prospect of the availability of global observations of wind and waves from the ERS-1/2 satellites provided a significant stimulus to the development of modern, third-generation wave prediction systems. And vice versa, the development of the altimeter wind and wave product was stimulated by the need to have reliable wave predictions.

Furthermore, wind and wave model products have been vital in the monitoring of the quality of the altimeter products, in particular in the first stages of the commisioning phase, while, on the other hand, the comparison between altimeter and wave model results has given clear guidelines for improvement of wave prediction systems. In 1993 the quality of the altimeter wave product was regarded so high that centres such as the Met Office and ECMWF decided to assimilate these data into the wave forecasting system, giving high quality analysed wave height fields. Although during the past 13 years we have seen considerable improvements in wind and wave modelling, it will be shown that the assimilation of altimeter wave height data is still of vital importance for the quality of the analysed wave height field.

Presently, the quality of the atmospheric and wave model analysis is so high that satellite retrieval algorithms have been developped on the basis of atmospheric analysis and forecast products. Examples are the scatterometer algorithms CMOD4 and CMOD5, the altimeter wind speed algorithms for Jason and ENVISAT and the total column water vapour algorithm for the MWR instrument on ENVISAT.

During the presentation, an overview of the above mentioned developments will be given, while we also discuss the accuracy of the altimeter and model wave height.

 

Workshop presentation

 

                 Last modified: 07.10.03