The impact of atmospheric data assimilation on wave simulations in the Red Sea

Sabique Langodan, Yesubabu Viswanadhapalli, Ibrahim Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Although wind and wave modeling is rather successful in the open ocean, modeling enclosed seas, particularly seas with small basins and complex orography, presents challenges. Here, we use data assimilation to improve wind and wave simulations in the Red Sea. We generated two sets of wind fields using a nested, high-resolution Weather Research and Forecasting model implemented with (VARFC) and without (CTL) assimilation of observations. Available conventional and satellite data were assimilated using the consecutive integration method with daily initializations over one year (2009). By evaluating the two wind products against in-situ data from synoptic stations, buoys, scatterometers, and altimeters, we found that seasonal patterns of wind and wave variability were well reproduced in both experiments. Statistical scores for simulated winds computed against QuikSCAT, buoy, and synoptic station observations suggest that data assimilation decreases the root-mean-square error to values between 1 and 2 m s-1 and reduces the scatter index by 30% compared to the CTL. Sensitivity clearly increased around mountain gaps, where the channeling effect is better described by VARFC winds. The impact of data assimilation is more pronounced in wave simulations, particularly during extreme winds and in the presence of mountain jets. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-215
Number of pages16
JournalOcean Engineering
StatePublished - Mar 11 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The research reported here was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This research made use of the resources of the Supercomputing Laboratory and/or computer clusters at KAUST. The authors thank the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), Jeddah for providing synoptic observations of KSA. The WRF-ARW model ( can be downloaded from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). The FNL data and PrepBUFR global observational data set were obtained from QSCAT data were obtained from JPL, NOAA. The authors are grateful to Yasser Kattan and Khaled Abdulkader from Saudi Aramco for providing AWS data. We also thank Dr. J. Tom Farrar from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA) and Dr. Yasser Abualnaja and Mr. Mohammedali Nellayaputhenpeedika from KAUST (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia) for assistance with the buoy data. The synoptic observational database was retrieved from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), NOAA, USA.


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of atmospheric data assimilation on wave simulations in the Red Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this