Comparison between nested grids and unstructured grids for a high-resolution wave forecasting system in the western Mediterranean sea
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Traditionally wave modelling uses a downscaling process by means of successive nested grids to obtain high-resolution wave fields near the coast. This supposes an uncertain error due to internal boundary conditions and a long computational time. Unstructured grids avoid multiple meshes and thus the problem of internal boundary conditions. In the present study high resolution wave simulations are analysed for a full year where high-resolution meteorological models were available in the Catalan coast. This coastal case presents sharp gradients in bathymetry and orography and therefore correspondingly sharp variations in the wind and wave fields. Simulations with SWAN v.4091A using a traditional nested sequence and a regional unstructured grid have been compared. Also a local unstructured grid nested in an operational forecast system is included in the analysis. The obtained simulations are compared to wave observations from buoys near the coast; almost no differences are found between the unstructured grids and the regular grids. Simultaneously, tests have been carried out in order to analyse the computational time required for each of the alternatives, showing a decrease to less than half the time when working with regional unstructured grids and maintaining the forecast accuracy and coastal resolution with respect to the downscaling system.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Operational Oceanography on 2017, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/1755876X.2016.1260389
CitationPallares, E., Lopez, J., Espino, M., Sanchez-Arcilla, A. Comparison between nested grids and unstructured grids for a high-resolution wave forecasting system in the western Mediterranean sea. "Journal of operational oceanography", Gener 2017, vol. 10, núm. 1, p. 1-14.