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Using GlobWave to search for global storm peaks

A recent study by Oceanweather Inc used GlobWave altimeter data to scan for global occurrences of storm peaks, where significant wave height exceeds 12 m.

Oceanweather swells content embed smallThe focus of this study was to look at the critical issues for the specification of unbiased and homogenous marine wind analysis, which was achieved by comparing GlobWave data in a second pass to a first pass using only TOPEX, Jason-1 and Envisat data. Core benefits of GlobWave identified prior to the study include the large increase in data available and its homogeneous data format facilitating easy processing and analysis.

The figure shows the different results from the two passes, with the figure on the left showing the first pass results and the right figure identifying significantly more swell events from the second pass that used GlobWave data. Other identified advantages of using the GlobWave data were virtually no spurious spikes, an increased dynamic range of altimeter winds and radical increase in Envisat high sea state occurrences.

This study concluded with praise for GlobWave altimeter data, particularly with regards to the homogenisation and quality control. It includes a strong recommendation that a similar effort be directed towards the passive and active microwave remotely sensed wind datasets such as ASCAT or OCEANSAT-2.

This study was presented at the 3rd International Workshop on Advances in the Use of Historic Marine Climate Data (MARCDAT-III) in ESRIN, Italy in May 2011.The presentation can be accessed here.