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MMAB Operational Wave Models

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Model Data

The Waves Group at NCEP/NOAA in partnership with the University System of Maryland Foundation will be offering a one-week Waves Workshop at the University of Maryland (UMD) College Park Campus, July 24th - 28th, 2017. Further information can be found here.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC RELEASE: A new version of WAVEWATCH III version 5.16 has been released. Details about the model and how to obtain the code can be found here.

NOTICE: We have resumed updates to the WAVEWATCH III® Production Hindcast (previously known as the "Hindcast reanalysis"), with data up through January 2017.
Important Note: The data from Aug 2015 and onwards is being generated with WW3 version 5.08 using the ST4 physics package. The hindcast datasets are available from the WAVEWATCH III® Hindcast and Reanalysis Archives

The operational ocean wave predictions of NOAA/NWS/NCEP use the wave model WAVEWATCH III® using operational NCEP products as input.

Detailed description of the WAVEWATCH III® model
and source code distribution.

The model is run four times a day: 00Z, 06Z, 12Z, and 18Z. Each run starts with 9-, 6- and 3-hour hindcasts and produces forecasts of every 3 hours from the initial time out to 180 hours (84 hours for the Great Lakes).

The wave model suite consists of global and regional nested grids. As background information, a list of selected references and a chronological list of model changes are available. Finally, validation data are available for the multigrid model.

Global Hurricane Waves Great Lakes
(NAM winds)
Great Lakes
(NDFD winds)

WAVEWATCH III Great Lakes Regional Views Click on image to enlarge

Forecast Zones
Click to open the Product Viewer for the selected zone (latest model run)

Great Lakes Region
Lake Erie
Lake Huron
Lake Michigan
Lake Ontario
Lake Superior

NOAA WAVEWATCH III® Hindcast and Reanalysis Archives

MMAB currently maintains two classes of WAVEWATCH III® hindcasts.

  • A thirty-year hindcast generated from the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis and Reforecast (CFSRR) homogeneous dataset of hourly high-resolution winds. The time period covers from 1979 through 2009. This is a true hindcast generated with a single version of the model and a statistically consistent forcing wind field, and is suitable for use in climate studies.
  • An ongoing data set produced by rerunning the model from the operational wind fields to produce best-estimate nowcast datasets. This is a statistically inhomogeneous hindcast data set, because the underlying models are periodically updated. Therefore this data set should not be used for climate studies.

Detailed descriptions of the hindcasts and reanalyses, with links to the datasets, validation statistics from buoy match-ups, and visualizations of the model data fields, can be found in the WAVEWATCH III® Hindcast and Reanalysis Archives


Two COMET modules are available regarding WAVEWATCH III® and analysis of ocean swell:

Registration is free for the courses.


While WAVEWATCH III® is an operational model, we cannot guarantee the timeliness or accuracy of the model data and figures offered on this site. Please see our disclaimer for more information.

Questions or Comments?

We welcome any questions or comments you may have on the WAVEWATCH III® system.

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For questions or problems with the website please contact us.

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Page last modified: Monday, 27-Feb-2017 21:28:59 UTC