A shallow water intercomparison of three numerical wave prediction models (SWIM)

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society (Impact Factor: 3.25). 10/2007; 111(470):1087 - 1112. DOI: 10.1002/qj.49711147011


Three operational shallow water wave models are intercompared for two artificial experiments and verified for a severe storm hindcast, with the objectives of further understanding the effects of the parametrization of shallow water wave processes in numerical models.
The models used are the HYPAS (Max-Planck Institute) and GONO (KNMI) coupled-hybrid models, and the BMO (Meteorological Office) coupled-discrete model which are all briefly described. In the first case, depth-dependent fetch-limited wave growth in a steady wind is examined. In the second case a steady onshore wind is specified over an idealized constant slope coastal shelf, and the stationary wave spectra at various depths are intercompared. For the third case the wind fields for the North Sea storms of 18-26 November 1981 were accurately reconstructed and used by each model in its operational configuration to produce a wave hindcast for this period.
In case 1 the GONO and BMO models exhibit similar behaviour in the evolution of energy and peak frequency, whereas HYPAS displays less depth attenuation and little variation in peak frequency. In case 2 the energy values at different shelf depths are approximately as predicted in case 1 for HYPAS though rather higher for BMO and GONO. However, GONO and HYPAS show little change in peak frequency with depth here whereas BMO wave spectra become double-peaked with a wind-sea peak migrating to higher frequencies in shallower waters. In case 3, the hindcasts, all models produce qualitatively similar results. the time series of wave height and period agree well with measurements, BMO and HYPAS predicting correct energy levels except at storm peaks and GONO generally overpredicting both at lower energy levels and in a duration-limited strong wind case. the r.m.s. error in wave height at the southern shallow water verification site is 0.5 m for all models, and varies between 0.9 m (GONO) and 1.5m (HYPAS) at the northern deep water site. Some wave spectra are presented and the directional relaxation of wind-sea in each model is illustrated.
The results of cases 1 and 2 are readily explained by the formulation of shallow water processes adopted in each model, but it is difficult to isolate and identify these mechanisms in the measured or modelied spectra from the hindcast. It is suggested that future studies involving detailed verification and intercomparison of wave models should be confined to more carefully designed wave-measuring experiments so that less ambiguous results are obtained.

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