Global ocean surface wave simulation using a coupled atmosphere-wave model

Yalin Fan, Shian Jiann Lin, Isaac M. Held, Zhitao Yu, Hendrik L. Tolman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


This study describes a 29-yr (1981-2009) global ocean surface gravity wave simulation generated by a coupled atmosphere-wave model using NOAA/GFDL's High-Resolution Atmosphere Model (HiRAM) and the WAVEWATCH III surface wave model developed and used operationally at NOAA/NCEP. Extensive evaluation of monthly mean significant wave height (SWH) against in situ buoys, satellite altimeter measurements, and the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) show very good agreements in terms of magnitude, spatial distribution, and scatter. The comparisons with satellite altimeter measurements indicate that the SWH low bias in ERA-40 reanalysis has been improved in these model simulations. The model fields show a strong response to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in the North Atlantic and the Southern Oscillation index (SOI) in the Pacific Ocean that are well connected with the atmospheric responses. For the NAO in winter, the strongest subpolar wave responses are found near the northern Europe coast and the coast of Labrador rather than in the central-northern Atlantic where the wind response is strongest. Similarly, for the SOI in the Pacific Ocean, the wave responses are strongest in the northern Bering Sea and the Antarctic coast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6233-6252
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Climate models
  • Coupled models


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