Comparison of 10-m Wind Forecasts from a Regional Area Model and QuikSCAT Scatterometer Wind Observations over the Mediterranean Sea

Accadia, Christophe; Zecchetto, Stefano; Lavagnini, Alfredo; Speranza, Antonio
May 2007
Monthly Weather Review;May2007, Vol. 135 Issue 5, p1945
Academic Journal
Surface wind forecasts from a limited-area model [the Quadrics Bologna Limited-Area Model (QBOLAM)] covering the entire Mediterranean area at 0.1° grid spacing are verified against Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) wind observations. Only forecasts within the first 24 h in coincidence with satellite overpasses are used. Two years of data, from 1 October 2000 to 31 October 2002, have been considered, allowing for an adequate statistical assessment under different wind conditions. This has been carried out by analyzing the fields of the mean wind vectors, wind speed bias, correlation, difference standard deviation, steadiness, gustiness, and mean wind direction difference, in order to investigate spatial variability. Statistics have been computed on a seasonal basis. A comparison of satellite and forecast winds with measurements from three buoys was also performed. Some critical areas of the Mediterranean Sea where wind forecast quality is lower than average have been identified. Such areas correspond to semienclosed basins surrounded by important orography and to small regions at the lee side of the main islands. In open-sea regions the model underestimates wind strength from about 0.5 m s-1 in spring and summer to 1.0 m s-1 in winter, as evidenced by the existing biases against scatterometer data. Also, a wind direction bias (scatterometer minus model) generally between 5° and 15° exists. A survey of the identified and likely sources of forecast error is performed, indicating that orography representation plays an important role. Numerical damping is identified as a likely factor reducing forecast wind strength. The need for a correction scheme is envisaged to provide more accurate forcing for numerical sea state forecasting models, wind energy evaluation, and latent and/or sensible heat exchanges.


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