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Satellite significant wave height observations in coastal and shelf seas

Jacob Hoeyer(1)

(1) Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Lyngbyvej 100, 2100 Copenhagen Oe, Denmark


Significant wave height (SWH) observations from the Topex/Poseidon and Jason-1 satellites are compared against buoy observations and a spectral wave model for the North Sea/Baltic Sea region. The comparisons span several years of data and thus give a valuable interannual validation of the satellite observations in coastal areas. The satellite observations in general show good agreement with the wave model and the buoy observations. However, a significant bias is seen in the northern part of the North Sea where the satellite SWHs are substantially lower than both the model and the observations. The scatter index reveals enhanced errors in the danish straits and in parts of the Baltic Sea. Detailed error statistics will be presented for different regions and the probability of obtaining erroneous satellite SWH observations will be determined for the near coastal areas. Based on the detailed comparisons, the applicability of the satellite SWH observations for operational coastal and shelf seas forecasting will be assessed. Finally, the potential for near-real time use of these observations will be discussed.


Full paper


                 Last modified: 07.10.03