Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Research article
29 Feb 2012
Research article |  | 29 Feb 2012

Implementation and validation of a coastal forecasting system for wind waves in the Mediterranean Sea

R. Inghilesi, F. Catini, G. Bellotti, L. Franco, A. Orasi, and S. Corsini

Abstract. A coastal forecasting system was implemented to provide wind wave forecasts over the whole Mediterranean Sea area, and with the added capability to focus on selected coastal areas. The goal of the system was to achieve a representation of the small-scale coastal processes influencing the propagation of waves towards the coasts. The system was based on a chain of nested wave models and adopted the WAve Model (WAM) to analyse the large-scale, deep-sea propagation of waves; and the Simulating WAves Nearshore (SWAN) to simulate waves in key coastal areas. Regional intermediate-scale WAM grids were introduced to bridge the gap between the large-scale and each coastal area. Even applying two consecutive nestings (Mediterranean grid → regional grid → coastal grid), a very high resolution was still required for the large scale WAM implementation in order to get a final resolution of about 400 m on the shores. In this study three regional areas in the Tyrrhenian Sea were selected, with a single coastal area embedded in each of them. The number of regional and coastal grids in the system could easily be modified without significantly affecting the efficiency of the system. The coastal system was tested in three Italian coastal regions in order to optimize the numerical parameters and to check the results in orographically complex zones for which wave records were available. Fifteen storm events in the period 2004–2009 were considered.