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Modeling of two northwest Atlantic storms with third-generation wave models

Author(s): Padilla-Hernandez R, Perrie W, Toulany B, Smith PC

Abstract

In this study, three state-of-the-art operational forecast wave models are implemented on nested grids in order to achieve fine-resolution wave simulations (0.1°) in the Gulf of Maine and related northwest Atlantic waters. These models are the Simulating Waves Nearshore (SWAN) model, the Wave Action Model (WAM), and WAVEWATCH-III (hereafter WW3). Model performance is evaluated through comparisons with field measurements. Four composite model systems are compared: WAM and WW3 implemented on three nested domains, SWAN nested within WAM, and SWAN nested within WW3. Storm case studies include two intense midlatitude winter storms from January 2000 and January 2002. Although the models are comparable in terms of their overall performance and skill, it is found that WW3 provides a better statistical fit to the observed wave data compared with the other models, and that SWAN gives slightly better results if nested within WW3, rather than within WAM.

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