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Numerical Modeling

Development and application of numerical models has been a key part of Oceanweather's history. In the field of spectral wave models, OWI developed the first global model for the U.S. Navy (GSOWM), has developed wave models for national centers such as SAIL (NOAA) and WINCH (Norwegian Meteorological Service), and was the only private firm involved with the development of the WAM model for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Today, OWI employ a variety of atmospheric and ocean response models in hindcast and forecast operations. Some of the models applied include:


Oceanweather's 3rd generation spectral wave model

Wavewatch III

Spectral wave model


Spectral wave model


Oceanweather's Tropical Planetary Boundary Layer model (see Tropical for more information)


Weather Research and Forecast atmospheric model


A (Parallel) ADvanced CIRCulation model for Oceanic, Coastal, and Estuarine Waters

Dr. V. J. Cardone and Dr. J. A. Greenwood, co-founders of Oceanweather, established international reputations as ocean modelers by virtue of their continuous development and implementation of spectral wave models. They were an integral part of the team, which in the late 1960's under the supervision of Professor Willard J. Pierson of New York University, developed and transferred to the U.S. Navy Fleet Numerical Oceanography Center (FNOC), the first spectral wave model used for operational hemispheric real-time wave forecasting (SOWM). This so-called first generation (1-G) model was later refined as the Ocean Data Gathering Program (ODGP) model, which has been shown to provide skillful hindcasts of tropical and extratropical cyclones (Cardone et. al, 1976) as well as a wide range of non-storm regimes (e.g. Reece and Cardone, 1982).

Dr. Cardone and Dr. Greenwood later developed a global version of the FNOC model (GSOWM), which was implemented at FNOC in 1985 and operated until May 1994. In the early 1980's, a new second generation wave model (2-G) was developed at Oceanweather under sponsorship of the U.S. NOAA Sea-Air Interaction Laboratory (the SAIL model: Greenwood, Cardone and Lawson, 1985). That model was later implemented as NOAA's operational global model (the NOW model) for real-time analysis and forecasting, and was implemented as a regional model by the Norwegian Meteorological Service (the WINCH model).

Dr. Cardone participated in the international wave model testing and intercomparison program known as SWAMP (1985), in which he designed and evaluated model results for test case 6 (stationary and moving circular wind fields). Simultaneously, the ODGP model was raised to 2-G standards by the implementation of an equilibrium range relaxation algorithm. That model (ODGP-2) has been applied in dozens of studies worldwide to develop extreme and operational wave statistics. ODGP-2 continues to provide skillful hindcasts in a wide range of wave regimes including arctic and sub-arctic basins, mid-latitude NH and SH regimes, tropical cyclone regimes and subtropical regimes such as the Gulf of Mexico, South China Sea and Arabian Gulf (e.g. Cardone et al., 1989; Swail et al., 1991; Cardone and Ewans, 1992; Eid et al., 1992).

The activities of the SWAMP group were continued in the 1980's through an international association of wave modelers known as the WAM group. Dr. Cardone and Dr. Greenwood were active members of the WAM group (its only private sector members) and helped develop and evaluate the third generation (3-G) WAM model (WAMDI Group, 1988). Oceanweather have also coded, independently of the WAM group, the OWI3G model which follows the physical formulation of WAM but with different numerics and different tuning (Khandekar, Lalbeharry and Cardone, 1994). That model has been applied in many hindcasting studies spanning over four decades.

In many practical applications, wind fields are simply not accurate enough to justify the application of WAM or the OWI3G model over Oceanweather's already skillful ODGP-2 model. For example in Cardone et al. (1996), the performance of ODGP-2, a different contemporary 2-G model, the fourth cycle of WAM, and the OWI3G model were evaluated at nine buoys moored off the East Coast of North America during the "Halloween Storm" of October 1991 and the "Storm of the Century" of March 1993. The same winds (prepared by OWI using kinematic analysis) and grid resolution were used for all hindcasts. The comprehensive statistical evaluation showed that OWI ODGP-2 and OWI3G proved at least as skillful as WAM-4. Therefore, while OWI3G was used for a new 40-year hindcast of the North Atlantic Ocean for which wind fields were produced by intensive kinematic analysis (Swail and Cox, 2000), ODGP2 was utilized for a global 40-year hindcast driven by adjusted global reanalysis project wind fields (Cox and Swail, 2001). Finally, it should be noted that the entire family of Oceanweather wave models all use a common propagation system which is energy conserving, faithfully simulates great circle wave propagation paths, and which provides prediction of swell even after propagation distances of over 5,000 miles (Cardone et al., 1995).


1976. Cardone, V, J., W. J. Pierson and E. G. Ward. Hindcasting the directional spectra of hurricane generated waves. J. of Petrol. Tech., 28, 385-394.

1982. Reece, A. and V. J. Cardone. Test of wave hindcast model results against measurements during four different meteorological systems. Offshore Technology Conference 14, OTC #4323.

1985. Greenwood, J. A., V. J. Cardone and L. M. Lawson. Intercomparison test version of the SAIL wave model. In Ocean Numerical Modeling, The SWAMP Group (24 authors). Plenum Press, New York, 221-233.

1985. SWAMP Group (24 authors including V. J. Cardone and J. A. Greenwood) Ocean Numerical Modeling. Plenum Press, New York, 256 pp.

1988. WAMDI Group (13 authors, including V. J. Cardone and J. A Greenwood). The WAM model - a third generation ocean wave prediction model. J. of Phys. Oceanog., 18, 1775-1810.

1989. Cardone, V. J., D. Szabo, F. J. Dello Stritto. Development of extreme wind and wave criteria for Hibernia. Preprints 2ND International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting. Vancouver, BC, April 25-28, 1989. p. 75-88.

1992. Cardone, V. J. and K. C. Ewans. Validation of the hindcast approach to the specification of wave conditions at the Maui location off the west coast of New Zealand. Preprints of the 3RD International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting. Montreal, Quebec. May 9-22, 1992; p. 232-247.

1992. Eid, B., V. J. Cardone, and V. K. Swail. Beaufort Sea extreme wind/wave hindcast study. Preprints of the 3RD International Workshop on Wave Hindcasting and Forecasting. Montreal, Quebec. May 9-22, 1992; p. 351-361.

1994. Khandekar, M. L., R. Lalbeharry and V. J. Cardone. The performance of the Canadian spectral ocean wave model (CSOWM) during the Grand Banks ERS-1 SAR wave spectra validation experiment. Atmosphere-Ocean, 32, 31-60.

1995. Cardone, V.J., C.K. Cooper and D. Szabo. A hindcast study of the extreme wave climate of offshore West Africa (WAX). Offshore Technology Conference, 27, paper # 7687, 439 - 451.

1996. Cardone, V. J., R. E. Jensen, D. T. Resio and V. K. Swail, and A. T. Cox. Evaluation of contemporary ocean wave models in rare extreme events: "Halloween Storm" of October, 1991; Storm of the Century of March, 1993. Submitted to J. Atmos. and Ocean. Tech., 13, 198-230.

2000 Swail, V.R. and A.T. Cox. On the use of NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis Surface Marine Wind Fields for a Long Term North Atlantic Wave Hindcast. J. Atmo. Tech., Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 532-545

2000 Cox, A.T. and V.R. Swail. A Global Wave Hindcast over the Period 1958-1997: Validation and Climate Assessment. J. of Geophys. Res. (Oceans) Vol. 106, No. C2, pp. 2313-2329. (Oceans).


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