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The world ocean wave fields discerned from ERA-Interim spectra
  • Jesus Portilla Yandun
Jesus Portilla Yandun
Escuela Politecnica Nacional

Corresponding Author:jportilla@ymail.com

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Ocean waves at any particular location are the result of the superposition of locally generated waves by wind, plus swells advected from somewhere else. Swells in particular can travel very long distances with marginal energy loss such that their signal, albeit reduced by dispersion, can be detected all across the oceans. Although our current approach for wave modeling and description has the wave spectrum as standard variable, most wave characterization methods are based on simplified integral parameters (e.g., Hs, Tm). These are indicative of the overall magnitude, but loose all the information stored in the spectral structure. Therefore, total wave fields derived from integral parameters are smooth and continuous while in reality wave fields have well defined spatial domains, they overlap one another, and they vary significantly along the seasons in response to the ever changing meteorological forcing. Using spectral partitioning techniques and the global spectral wave climate atlas GLOSWAC, the main wave fields active in the different ocean basins can be elucidated and separated from the integrated one. As the memory of the sea surface (waves) is longer than that of the atmosphere, these individual wave fields constitute a valuable new source of environmental information, and its characterization opens the way to more advanced wave analysis methods.