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Wind Field Analysis

A core research priority at Oceanweather (OWI) is development of analysis systems to produce the most accurate marine surface wind fields possible of both discrete historical events on a regional scale and of basin-scale or global continuous multi-year wind fields. The research has addressed a wide variety of topics ranging from study of systematic and random errors of various data sources (ships, moored buoys, offshore platforms, coastal stations, various satellite sensors), to a quantification of the error structure of wind fields produced as a part of global atmospheric reanalysis projects.

OWI's approach to development of wind fields is basin-dependent with focused attention to the storm and weather systems driving extreme conditions. Source atmospheric fields from regional and global reanalysis projects are evaluated against available in situ and satellite data to determine their level of skill and bias. OWI employ a variety of methodologies including statistical downscaling, dynamic downscaling (utilizing the Weather Research & Forecast model for instance), tropical model overlay (see Tropical Modeling) and manual kinematic analysis of ocean winds to produce high-quality wind forcing required by ocean response models.

The direct kinematic analysis of wind fields from wind data has been greatly facilitated by Oceanweather's Interactive Kinematic Objective Analysis system (IOKA), which utilizes a unique graphical interface developed at Oceanweather called Wind Workstation (WWS). Some degree of kinematic analysis is almost always required for accurate wind fields, particularly for the most extreme storms. Oceanweather has worked in nearly all ocean basins worldwide and its methodologies have been validated in the open literature as part of university projects as well as in Joint Industry Projects and individual hindcast studies.

Example kinematic streamline and isotach analysis in Cook Inlet, Alaska

Oceanweather's wind fields are recognized by the international scientific community as the most accurate which may possibly be derived from a given database, and are often used as "reference" fields in the analysis of data acquired in major international field programs and associated ocean response modeling experiments.


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