Validation and improvement of the quality of the operational wave prediction model mu-wave by the use of ERS-1 satellite data

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Context and objectives

In the framework of the third phase of the research program on remote sensing, the Management Unit of the Mathematical Model of the North Sea carried out a project aiming a the following goals:

- quality control of the meteorological forcings used to drive the wave and swell prediction model MU-WAVE, i.e. the forecasted and analysed wind fields of the United Kingdom Meteorological Office;

- make an extensive validation of MU-WAVE using both satellite and buoy measurements, compare MU-WAVE with a third generation wave model (WAM) implemented on the same grids at the Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (KUL);

- assess the impact of the open sea boundary conditions on the forecasts;

- choose and implement in the model a satellite data assimilation procedure suitable for operational use and assess its efficiency.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

Satellite and buoy data were used to make an extensive validation of mu-WAVE. The predictions are usually satisfactory in front of the coast.

The model is nevertheless not perfect, and satellite data helped to assess the effects of the open sea boundary conditions on the forecasts, which was impossible to do using buoys, because of the lack of data. A way to deal with those boundary conditions was found.

In the model a data assimilation scheme suitable for operational use was implemented. It's a very simple scheme, it can give good results in certain conditions, but of course it won't correct every inconsistency and simplification that one has to use in wave modelling. This has to be done in the framework of another project.