In the framework of operational analysis for engineering, transportation and installation of oil and gas off-shore facilities, the knowledge of wave conditions in term of statistics and time series is crucial to assess the environmental load to plan operations. This study is devoted to the validation of the NOAA WAVEWATCH III® hindcast using measurements in different locations of the world - West and East Africa, Barents Sea, South China Sea and Andaman Sea - to verify its performance under different wind and wave conditions. For the Barents Sea, a comparison is carried out between measured data, NOAA-WW3 forced by GFS hindcast and the newly released NOAA-WWIII-CFSR re-analysis (NOAA-WW3 forced by CFSR). The validation has been done applying standard statistics to compare modelled and observed winds and waves. The verification of the NOAA-WW3-GFS data set has provided quite satisfactory results for all the comparisons carried out.
For operational purpose, hindcasted wave data are fully used because in most of the cases, measured data are not available or are not covering a temporal period reliable for statistical elaborations. In this framework, the validation of available hindcasted wave datasets is a crucial topic.
The WAVEWATCHIII data set (NOAA-WW3-GFS), which uses the Global Forecast System -GFS- winds as forcing, and the NOAA-WW3- CFSR data set (WW3, forced by CFSR winds) based on the wind reanalysis, are strongly used for operational analysis. These data sets, in fact, are global and they are reliable for statistical analysis. Moreover, data have been validated using measured data by NOAA (Arun et al., 2013) in several locations.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the WW3 data set (NOAA-WW3- GFS), through comparisons with measurements not used in previous studies. Moreover, those measurements cover areas characterized by different sea states, allowing to consider the goodness of data sets in function of the sea state, mainly considering the spectral peak period and the wave direction. Hence, on overall, the data set allow to check model results for widely different conditions and in different areas of the world, thus providing a challenging verification of the wave model performance.
Finally, the NOAA-WW3-CFSR data set is used due to the fact that it overlaps with our available measurements only at the Barents Sea location, hence only a limited verification of performance and comparison with WW3-GFS data is possible. This reanalysis data is an improvement in term of input data and simulation methodology: hence performance is expected similar or better than verified in this work for WW3-GFS data. Anyway, the reanalysis data are an improvement in term of input data and simulation methodology: hence performance is expected similar or better than verified in this work for WW3-GFS data.