Instructions

Ocean Winds and Wave Height

This section requires examination, interpretation, and comparison of animated maps available at the NOAA Wavewatch III (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. website entitled NWW3 Product Viewer. These maps illustrate the height and direction of ocean waves, wind speed and direction, or peak wave period (among other options). The recommended approach is to select the target ocean region from the pull down menu entitled “Choose a Region”, coupled with choosing the option to display an animated forecast of significant wave height or wind speed and direction or peak wave period (among others). The focus of exercise is to compare and evaluate the wave data for ocean regions (and the wind speed and direction for the Atlantic) using the following sequential procedure:

  • Identify the pull down menu entitled “Choose a Region” and select the preferred region for viewing (Atlantic or Pacific).
  • Under the pull-down menu “Select a Run Time” select the last one on the list with -30h in its name. This selection generates an animation that starts 30 hours before the present time and runs its prediction through to 180 hours into the future (if this particular option doesn’t work try one of the other options from the menu for example -18hr or latest.).
  • From the listing of options to the right of the pull-down menus select first “Significant Wave Height”, then “Wind Speed and Direction” and finally “Peak Wave Period” for the bonus question. Each setting will provide animated maps for the specified parameter in the region selected.
  • The wave heights are colored and contoured according to the scale (in m) below the map with red arrows indicating the direction of travel. The maps for Wind Speed and Direction also shows direction using red arrows and has a wind speed scale (knots) below the map. The maps of Peak Wave Period also shows direction using red arrows with the scale for wave period (in seconds) below the map
  • The image below provides a snapshot (at 60 hours) from the animation of peak wave period forecast for the Atlantic region.

    AtlanticPeakWavePeriod.png

    Alternative Website Option for Wavewatch III

    The NOAA Wavewatch III (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. website entitled NWW3 Product Viewer employed for Module 10 Ocean Waves Exercise Part B, Wave Height, Winds, and Synthesis has recently become inaccessible at imes although it is currently working. However, comparable images and videos are available on websites hosted by Stormsurf. Specifically, there is an interactive global map of wave height (http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wam.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) that enables selection of individual ocean regions (e.g., the North Pacific – http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display.cgi?a=npac_height (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) presenting an animation of the height and direction of waves (Significant Wave Height) in each chosen region as a 180 hr forecast. Stormsurf also provides similar maps for wind speed (http://www.stormsurf.com/mdls/menu_wx.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) and regional maps for peak wave periods in the Pacific (http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=pac_per (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Collectively, these images provide the data needed to answer all four questions in the exercise, and appropriate links are provided in each of the questions within this exercise.

    Question 1:Examine the height and direction of waves (Significant Wave Height) in the Atlantic region over a 180 hr forecast and interpret the animation to answer the following questions: (i) What is the maximum wave height observed in the animation and where do these largest waves occur? and (ii) How does the pattern of waves develop through the animation and are specific storm systems observed?

    A strong answer will describe the positions of high waves in terms of the oceanic region and ranges of latitude & longitude, and the changes in height and position over the time period represented by the animation. The values for wave heights will be given with units, and their primary direction quoted in terms of the compass direction.

    Note: If the NOAA Wavewatch III (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. website entitled NWW3 Product Viewer is inaccessible the necessary images for significant wave height in the N. Atlantic (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and S. Atlantic (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. can be found at the Stormsurf website.

    Answer:


    Question 2: Examine the speed and direction of winds (Wind Speed and Direction) in the Atlantic over a 180 hr forecast and interpret the animation to answer the following questions: (i) What is the maximum wind speed observed in the prediction and where do these winds occur occur? (ii) How does the pattern of wind speed and direction develop through the animation and is it directly related to the pattern of wave heights described in the previous question?

    A strong answer will describe the positions of the strongest winds in terms of the oceanic region and ranges of latitude & longitude, and the changes in strength and direction over the time period represented by the animation. The values for wind speeds will be given with units, and their primary direction quoted in terms of the compass direction. It will also identify the relationships between wind patterns and wave heights.

    Note: If the NOAA Wavewatch III (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. website entitled NWW3 Product Viewer is inaccessible the necessary images for wind speed and direction in the N. Atlantic (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and S. Atlantic (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. can be found at the Stormsurf website.

    Answer:

    Question 3: Examine the height and direction (Significant Wave Height) of waves in the Pacific region over a 180 hr forecast and interpret the animation to answer the following questions: (i) What is the maximum wave height observed in the prediction and where do these largest waves occur? (ii) How does the pattern of waves develop through the animation and are specific storm systems observed?

    A strong answer will describe the positions of high waves in terms of the oceanic region and ranges of latitude & longitude, and the changes in height and position over the time period represented by the animation. The values for wave heights will be given with units, and their primary direction quoted in terms of the compass direction. It will also identify the cause for high winds at mid latitudes in terms of specific oceanic/atmospheric phenomena.

    Note: If the NOAA Wavewatch III (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. website entitled NWW3 Product Viewer is inaccessible the necessary images for significant wave height in the Pacific (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. can be found at the Stormsurf website.

    Answer:

    Question 4: Bonus Question (5 pt)

    Examine the characteristics of the peak wave period (Peak Wave Period) in the Pacific over a 180 hr forecast and interpret the animation to answer the following questions: (i) Where do waves in the Pacific originate at this time of the year? and (ii) In what direction do the waves move?

    A strong answer will describe the patterns of movement of ocean waves based on the animation of peak wave period noting ocean regions in latitude & longitude where waves originate and how they move across the ocean, including changes in peak wave period over the time period represented by the animation. The values for peak wave periods will be given with units, and the direction of travel of waves described in terms of their compass direction and the regions where they originate and ultimately reach.

    Note: If the NOAA Wavewatch III (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. website entitled NWW3 Product Viewer is inaccessible the necessary images for peak wave period in the Pacific (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.can be found at the Stormsurf website.

    Anwser:

     
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