Coupling of wave and circulation models in coastal-ocean predicting systems: a case study for the German Bight


This study addresses the impact of coupling between wind wave and circulation models on the quality of coastal ocean predicting systems. This is exemplified for the German Bight and its coastal area known as the Wadden Sea. The latter is the area between the barrier islands and the coast. This topic reflects the increased interest in operational oceanography to reduce prediction errors of state estimates at coastal scales, which in many cases are due to unresolved nonlinear feedback between strong tidal currents and wind-waves. In this study we present analysis of wave and hydrographic observations, as well as results of numerical simulations. A nested-grid modelling system is used to producing reliable nowcasts and short-term forecasts of ocean state variables, including wind waves and hydrodynamics. The data base includes ADCP observations and continuous measurements from data stations. The individual and collective role of wind, waves and tidal forcing are quantified. The performance of the forecast system is illustrated for the cases of several extreme events. Effects of ocean waves on coastal circulation and sea level are investigated by considering the wave-dependent stress and wave breaking parameterization. Also the effects which the circulation exerts on the wind waves are tested for the coastal areas using different parameterizations. The improved skill of the coupled forecasts compared to the non-coupled ones, in particular during extreme events, justifies the further enhancements of coastal operational systems by including wind wave models.
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