Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Ocean Sci., 12, 39–49, 2016

Special issue: Oceanographic processes on the continental shelf: observations...

Ocean Sci., 12, 39–49, 2016

Research article 15 Jan 2016

Research article | 15 Jan 2016

On the feasibility of the use of wind SAR to downscale waves on shallow water

O. Q. Gutiérrez1, F. Filipponi2, A. Taramelli2, E. Valentini2, P. Camus1, and F. J. Méndez1 O. Q. Gutiérrez et al.
  • 1Environment Hydraulics Institute IH Cantabria, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
  • 2Department of Prevention and Mitigation of Impacts, ISPRA Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, Rome, Italy

Abstract. In recent years, wave reanalyses have become popular as a powerful source of information for wave climate research and engineering applications. These wave reanalyses provide continuous time series of offshore wave parameters; nevertheless, in coastal areas or shallow water, waves are poorly described because spatial resolution is not detailed. By means of wave downscaling, it is possible to increase spatial resolution in high temporal coverage simulations, using forcing from wind and offshore wave databases. Meanwhile, the reanalysis wave databases are enough to describe the wave climate at the limit of simulations; wind reanalyses at an adequate spatial resolution to describe the wind structure near the coast are not frequently available. Remote sensing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) has the ability to detect sea surface signatures and estimate wind fields at high resolution (up to 300 m) and high frequency.

In this work a wave downscaling is done on the northern Adriatic Sea, using a hybrid methodology and global wave and wind reanalysis as forcing. The wave fields produced were compared to wave fields produced with SAR winds that represent the two dominant wind regimes in the area: the bora (ENE direction) and sirocco (SE direction). Results show a good correlation between the waves forced with reanalysis wind and SAR wind. In addition, a validation of reanalysis is shown. This research demonstrates how Earth observation products, such as SAR wind fields, can be successfully up-taken into oceanographic modeling, producing similar downscaled wave fields when compared to waves forced with reanalysis wind.

Short summary
High-resolution wave hindcast has been performed for the N Adriatic Sea using a hybrid methodology, combining a regional wave hindcast database, wind reanalysis, satellite SAR wind fields and data mining techniques. Comparison with in situ instrumental data indicates the good quality of the downscaled waves; moreover, a good correlation was found on the downscaled waves forced with different wind fields. Results demonstrate how SAR wind fields can be successfully up-taken in wave downscaling.