New Directional Wave Satellite Observations: Towards Improved Wave Forecasts and Climate Description in Southern Ocean

Aouf, Lotfi ; Chapron, B. ; Toffoli, A. ; Tourain, C. ; Peureux, C.

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<p align=justify>In spite of continuous improvements of ocean wave models in the last decades, large errors still remain in particular under strongly forced conditions, often encountered in the Southern Ocean, where strong westerly winds generate some of the fiercest waves on Earth in almost unlimited fetch conditions. The newly launched China-France Oceanography SATellite (CFOSAT) provides directional spectra of ocean waves for both wind seas and swells. Compared to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), it can resolve shorter wavelengths in all directions, which dominate in non-fully developed wind waves. Here, the assimilation of these CFOSAT wavenumber components is proved to bring more accurate predictions of wave growth compared to the assimilation of significant wave height alone. A notable reduction of model bias is found in the Southern Ocean, especially in the Pacific Ocean sector. Results further exhibit a downward shift of the wave age, consistent with theoretical wave growth curves.</p>
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