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Refined Source Terms in WAVEWATCH III with Wave Breaking and Sea Spray Forecasts

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Several U.S. Federal Agencies operate wind wave prediction models for a variety of mission specific purposes. Much of the basic science contained in the physics core of these models is over a decade old, and incorporating recent research advances over the last decade will significantly upgrade the model physics. A major goal is to produce a refined set of source and sink terms for the wind input, dissipation and breaking, nonlinear wave-wave interaction, bottom friction, wave-mud interaction, wave-current interaction as well as sea spray flux. These should perform demonstrably better across a range of environments and conditions than existing packages and include a seamless transition from deep to shallow water outside the surf zone. After careful testing within a comprehensive suite of test bed cases, these refined source terms will be incorporated into the prediction systems operated by these agencies and by the broader wave modelling community. Our aim to improve the accuracy of ocean wave forecasts over a wide dynamic range of wind speeds out to hurricane conditions, contributing a dissipation source function that adds explicit wave breaking statistics for the wind sea to the forecast products. Allied aims are to effectively decouple swell systems from the wind sea and to provide a framework that allows full coupling to the associated atmospheric and ocean circulation models. As part of this project we aim to refine the parameterization of air-sea and upper ocean fluxes, including wind input and sea spray as well as dissipation, and hence improve marine weather forecasts, particularly in severe conditions.

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  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

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